The information above was gathered by Iain Cannon,
teacher at Carrick Academy. Special thanks to Kenny Crawford for
initiating this tribute. Many former Carrick Academy pupils are
sure to have great memories of Mr.
We invite any of those to contribute them here.
Contact us. Read these Tributes to Mr. Meiklejohn by:
While still in hospital at Lyndsay
Ward at the Biggart Hospital, Prestwick, Robert Meiklejohn had been given
a printout of this page and had the opportunity to learn of these
tributes. In response he has said... "I want to
thank everyone who has been in touch and delighted that people remember
me. The happiest days of my career were at Carrick Academy which had an
atmosphere found at no other school."
Mr Meiklejohn I always called him
a mans man with a heart of gold. He would never ask you to do something he
could not do himself and always commanded respect. You could never get one
over on him he would just laugh, he knew every trick in the book. I played
for Carrick under 15 s and we won the gold cup and league championship
that year, and also reached the final of the Ayrshire cup a great feat at
that time and probably not to be repeated. That night at Dam Park in Ayr
is my biggest disappointment in football we gave everything and more for
Mr. Meiklejohn but lost 3-2 after extra time. As we all sat crying our
eyes out in the dressing room he came bounding in chest puffed out and
said what a team I finally have a great team you were fantastic played
them of the park. Listen to the crowd they are cheering you not them. That
team with names like Ian Hearton, Ian Fleming, Gordon Cran, John Spiers
and myself Bobby Paterson went on to win many trophies but I am sure we
would swap them all to give Mr. Meiklejohn that Ayrshire cup.
I was deeply saddened to read about
Mr Meiklejohn's death in October. I was a student in the Lyndsay Ward at
Biggart from February to June 2002, when I had the great pleasure of
meeting Mr. Meikejohn who was an inspiration to me. Having been, in my
younger days a keen athletic, he and I had a lot in common and he knew my
P.E teacher, Mr. Ashton from Auchinleck Academy. When Mr. Meiklejohn told
me he was a teacher, I looked up www.friendsreunited.com telling him I
would be sure to find some gossip on there about him. That was where I was
directed to the Maybole site. I printed out the pages and took them in to
work with me to read them over to Mr Meiklejohn and on doing so it brought
a tear to both our eyes. I was greatly inspired by his courage,
determination and his true gentleman manner. It was a privilege and an
honour to have met such a lovely genuine man. My thoughts are with his
family. Having worked within the care sector for seven years Mr.
Meiklejohn is one patient I shall always have fond memories of.
Mr Meiklejohn was the PE teacher at Carrick
Academy during my time there in the 50's, or to be more precise, the PT
teacher, as it was called Physical Training in those days. I seem to
remember we nicknamed it PURE TORTURE. Being well in to sport he soon
became one of my favourite teachers. He had a wonderful wit and could
diffuse any situation with the greatest of ease.
forgot my PT kit, and being keen on sport it was a true lapse of memory. I
say once as after that day I would run back home for my kit rather than
turn up without it. I do not remember ever missing PT after that day. The
reason for this was quite simple. On that particular day six of us forgot
their kit so he lined us up in the gymnasium and gave us a right royal
dressing down in front of everyone. I seem to remember that he said
something to me about my trousers looking as though they had been taken
off the night before, thrown in a corner and being put back on the next
morning. He did not single any of us out for particular criticism, we were
all chastised equally.
a seriously positive affect on me though, in fact as I grew up I wouldn't
even go up the High Street without being smartly dressed. And to this day
I can still press a mean crease in any trouser. A few years in the Army
Cadets and Royal Air Force may well have honed the process to perfection,
and even now, oh how I hate to see tram lines.
occasion he entered the dressing room to find two of my classmates
fighting, well it was probably more like powder puffs at 20 paces really,
he immediately told them to stop, and you did not disobey Mr Meiklejohn.
He then told them to stay where they were while he went away and came back
with two pair of boxing gloves. They were told to put the gloves on, and
that if they were going to fight they would do it properly. At his signal
they resumed their "fight" but it only last a few seconds before they, and
the rest of us, dissolved in to fits of laughter. The culprits then shook
hands and were again great mates. No further action being required.
renown for his motorcycle and sidecar. Us kids would look on in amazement
as he rode up the Kirkoswald Road until he reached the school gates, he
then performed an immediate right turn going through the gates with only
inches to spare on either side, without once ever hitting the sides.
On another occasion I was playing for the Senior football side (under
18's) away to Irvine Royal Academy, we were hammered 10-1 that day. We
scored when about 6-0 or 7-0 down, and there was Mr Meiklejohn on the
touchline throwing his helmet up in the air in mock celebration.
back he must have given up an awful lot of his spare time for us kids,
much of it probably taken for granted until we look back later in life. I
have never once heard a wrong word said about him. "Wee Meike" (Meeky) was
indeed a tremendous character, a wonderful teacher, and I will be forever
grateful of the bit part he played in my life.
I first heard
the name Bob Meiklejohn in the boy’s shower in the Academy Gymnasium. The
rumour was going around that a ‘wee hard man’ was coming to the Physical
Education Staff. It was not many days later that I had my first look and
listen to Bob Meiklejohn. In the few weeks after he came I was deeply
impressed by his fairness. He was keen to encourage physical activities
and started introducing new games and sporting fixtures. He put together
the first football team for the Academy, up until that time Rugby was the
On of my abiding memories of Bob was
when he offered to take me to Stranraer to play for the football team. I
really could not afford the bus fare. He agreed to pick me up outside the
school gates early on Saturday morning. He came to a roaring halt on a
huge Norton 500cc motorcycle. I had never been on a motorcycle before and
the thrill and speed of that trip is edged in my memory. Of course I was
frozen stiff by the time we arrived so the first half of the game I spent
thawing out. From the sidelines he gave me some stick. He shouted things
like, ‘you are playing like a big lassie.’ If you don’t improve you will
need to walk home.’ After the game he gave me that cheeky smile and said,
not bad for a big lassie.
When I left the Academy I immigrated to
Canada. I needed to retrieve some papers from the Academy records to
furthering my education. It was Bob who went out of his way to secure
them for me. I will always be grateful for his consideration and kindness
in helping me even although I was far away.
The last time I saw him was a few years
ago. Another of his pupils Peter Thomson, invited me to play golf at
Royal Troon. He also invited Bob to join my brother Billy and him for
lunch. We had a great time reminiscing about the good old days at the
Academy. He was still the same Bob with that devilish sense of humour. He
was particularly pleased that his former charges were making their way in
the world. He rightly took personal satisfaction that some of us had
turned out as well as he had hoped.
It is the measure of the man that he
is genuinely thrilled by the success of others. That is the great quality
I remember about Bob. When we parted he gave us each a big hug and
thanked us for spending time with him. God bless you Bob. And as you often said in your correspondence to me,
‘yours aye, Bob!’ Geordie Davidson
In 1957 after school hours I
broke my arm in the playing field of Carrick Academy. I have never
forgotten the care and attention that Robert Meiklejohn gave me above and
beyond the call of duty. He took me by car to Ayr County Hospital and
waited with me for hours while I was being examined, X-rayed and
plastered. Afterwards he took me home by car and delivered me safely to my
parents. Thanks old boy. John L. McCulloch.
I was heartened to see the
features on wee Meikie as we called him, and not a bit surprised to see
that he is as resolute as ever. It didn't matter to him that you weren't a
budding Herb Elliot as long as you made the effort in the period. I was
such an individual, not much interested in football, running or
basketball. My first love was and still is fishing. However, my best pal
at Carrick was Johnny Ferguson from Straiton, who was a particularly good
middle distance runner who ran for Ayr Seaforth club along with Roger
Mullin if my memory serves me correctly. They decided to have a mixed
distance relay race which I think was against the Boys Brigade team at the
school sports field (I think Louis Jardine was in that team).
Johnny talked me into running the sprint leg, and we won easily. The next
PE period wee Meikie gave me some funny looks but never said a word. I
could imagine him saying "fishing indeed ", what a waste, but he never
did. I knew he respected me for what I was, not what I could be.
Adam Hempkin, London
Seeing the photos of "Wee Meikie"
in 1961 and 1962 brought back many happy memories. The Wee Man was a
strict but very fair teacher and you knew exactly where you were with him.
There was little indiscipline in his classes and he stood for no nonsense.
Unlike many in the profession today he gave up a great deal of his free
time to accompany his beloved football teams on Saturday mornings to give
encouragement from the sidelines. I well remember circuit training in one
of his classes when a rather portly fisherman's son from Dunure received a
whack across the backside for being too slow down a rope. The poor
unfortunate then took an almighty leap at a vaulting horse. His shorts
came down as he traversed the obstacle to reveal a well-skelped
backside-no athletic supports in those days. The whole class convulsed
with laughter and the Wee Man and his victim joined in. In the words of
Ali G " Respec', my man!". You deserve every bit of it. Bob
I have just logged on and read the
piece on Mr Meiklejohn. How I wish, like so many others no doubt, I could
be with him to thank him for all he did for me and hundreds like me. But
he knows how much we all thought of him. In 1993 when by brother and
sister were over from Canada for my mother's funeral, we went to see him
at home in Troon. Apparently many former pupils visited him over the
years, and remembered how he had touched their lives in so many ways. In
1993 he was as enthusiastic as ever.
I remember how I always felt he was happy for you if you
were successful at anything. I still fondly remember winning the senior
sports championship three years in a row at Carrick, although to be honest
it was no great feat when you were running against the likes of Iain
Cannon!! The "wee man" always had that happy twinkle in his eye. I still
have a small badly focused old black and white photograph of me crossing
the winning line with Mr Meiklejohn in the background timing me. He gave
me great confidence, he was never condescending, and he genuinely seemed
to like everyone....I remember once big Bill Gaffney was about to be
belted for some reason, and being big he held out his arm and rested his
hand on the "wee man's" head!! He couldn't stop himself laughing (nor,
unfortunately for Bill, could he stop himself from giving him the belt
when he recovered!!).
His diet was not that of the great athlete. For that my
mother and father were very grateful as he was a regular lunchtime visitor
at Mullin the bakers, for a hot pie.
Recently he was in my thoughts for another reason. I am
currently an adviser to the Scottish Parliament's inquiry into lifelong
learning. A couple of week's ago the interim report was published, and I
have been doing the rounds speaking about it. One of the suggested aims of
a national strategy includes citizenship issues and providing people with
the opportunity to participate in the arts, sports and such like. A very
well paid cynic took me to task, saying what on earth was this about;
lifelong learning should only be about training people for work. My
immediate repost was that the teacher who helped me most, was not any of
my professors at university, but a PE teacher from Maybole. He made me
want to achieve. He motivated people. He cared. He was Mr Meiklejohn, and
countless hundreds if not thousands of us, owe him a great debt. Roger
If ever a man deserved the recognition of the
local community, it is this man. He epitomises courage, strength and
endeavour. He will forever be remembered by his ex-pupils at Carrick
Academy. He was hard, but fair, and communicated with us all so
well. My best memory of Mr. Meiklejohn has to be the time I
had been selected to play in the Scottish Schools Football Team
Trials, in Ayr. I was in a maths class when he came in, " Excuse me,
but could Crawford come with me ". I followed him out of the class
and into the playground. " Quick, In you get, we're late " , he
says. " In there ? " , I replied. He just looked at me. I was to
travel to Ayr in the open sidecar of his motorbike. We were fairly
racing along, engine at full throttle. I was completely open to the
elements, eyes streaming, hands blue. He could see what was
happening and pulled his machine into a lay-by. He gave me his
goggles and leather jacket to wear.[ Whacky Races, right ?] However,
by the time we got to Ayr I was frozen solid, Mr. Meiklejohn had to
lift me out of the sidecar. I walked onto the football park like
John Wayne. ' The hell ya will ref '. It was half-time in the match
before I started to thaw out ! After the match he came over to see
me. " Do you want a lift back to Maybole Crawford ? " I had been injured
during the game, I hobbled up to him and said, " No thanks, I'll walk. "
We both burst out laughing. The return journey to Maybole was carried out
at a more sedate speed. As I was limping up the path to my house he
shouted to me, I turned round and he winked and gave me a thumbs up. He
was pleased with me, I will always remember that. Above
all my personal memories of Mr. Meiklejohn, is the abiding knowledge
that he was the favourite teacher of every boy at Carrick Academy,
throughout his teaching time there. Kenny Crawford
I know I have fond memories of him as a teacher of PT,
physical training which seems nowadays to be PE physical education, and
for years it was my ambition to beat him at table tennis. Pupils used to
play at lunch times in the dressing room and of course when I started I
was only 12 and had to learn against far better players with him as the
ultimate. It would be at least 4 years before I managed to beat him. We
all had great respect for him. We knew he had been a paratrooper but not
much more than that, I seem to remember talk of him being a "Red Beret".