The head teacher of Forfar Academy has paid a glowing tribute to Mr Malcolm Dowie, the school’s Principal Teacher of Expressive Arts, who died yesterday.
Mr Melvyn Lynch described the “music man” as an “institution” who will be remembered this morning at the school’s final Christmas service in its current building.
Mr Lynch told us: “The school community was deeply saddened on hearing that Mr Dowie had passed away, following a complication related to his Motor Neurone Disease.
“As recently as last Wednesday evening, he had enjoyed attending the 24th Festival of Lessons and Carols at Forfar St. Margaret’s Church - one of the many traditions he introduced to the school during his long service as teacher of Music and Principal Teacher of Expressive Arts.
“Forfar Academy was also the school Malcolm attended as a pupil and where his love of music was nurtured and encouraged, just as he, in turn, has nurtured and encouraged five generations of pupils over the past three decades.
“Malcolm Dowie was a big man in every respect, with an extraordinary capacity for relishing the work he so greatly enjoyed.
“Who will ever forget that booming voice and thunderous laughter that could shake the tiles off any roof!
“Malcolm always referred to his pupils as, “the Bairns”. They all mattered to him and no one enjoyed seeing them develop their musical talent more than Malcolm.
“Although Malcolm’s health had been deteriorating over the past wee while, in particular, his passing took us by surprise and came as a great shock to us all.”
Mr Lynch explained a Senior Assembly was convened near the start of the school day yesterday to break the news to pupils.
He continued: “The high regard and affection Mr Dowie was held in by pupils was evident in the obvious grief on display.
“And yet, as a measure of the pupils’ determination to honour Mr Dowie, show their gratitude for all he had given them over the years and celebrate a life ended all too soon, the pupils asked that the Christmas Service go ahead.
“As the last Christmas Service in the Academy they wanted to make it special and so we will be combining Junior and Senior Services into one whole school Service, led by Rev. Dr. Karen Fenwick, Minister at the Lowson Memorial Church. “The musical contributions will be particularly poignant on this occasion, as we say farewell not only to our old school, but to another Institution in the music man that was Malcolm Dowie.
“Without the people in it, a building has no heart, nor soul. Our hearts are heavy today, as we bid farewell to Mr Dowie, who brought our school to life and so inspired the music in all of us.
“The thoughts and prayers of all in the Forfar school community and beyond, to include our partner school in Ebern, are with Malcolm’s family at this saddest of times.
“His wife, Kirsty, children Scott and Laura, his mother and the rest of the family and friends.
“The school intends organising a Service of Remembrance for Malcolm in the New Year, to celebrate and remember one of our own bairns, who gave us the gifts of music and song.”