The Russell Cawthorn Collection - The 1926 Foundation

The 1926 Foundation - A Charitable Foundation
The 1926 Foundation - A Charitable Foundation

History of the Foundation -
Kelso and, specifically, Kelso High School

The genesis of The 1926 Foundation lies with the High School, where I received the majority of my education.

I had kept in touch with Sandy Russell, my Rector at the school, on a desultory basis for as long as he was working. When he retired, he generally was to be found at the Ednam House Hotel in Kelso at coffee time, putting the world to rights with his cronies. I would come up to Kelso with my wife and family very, very occasionally, and on a few occasions our paths crossed. Once I had the pleasure of introducing my eldest son Jamie (now a fellow trustee of the Foundation) to Russell when we came up to see Scotland play Spain at Poynder Park.

However, it was only in later life, sadly after Russell had passed away, that I started visiting the town on a reasonably regular basis. This came about because I had decided that if I made any money in business, then I would have the means of helping the school in various ways. And so I made formal contact with the people there, notably Charlie Robertson who was by then the Rector. From my knowledge of Charlie, gained over a number of years, I realise that the pupils who were at the school during his tenancy of the position of Rector had a mentor every bit as good as I had in Sandy Russell; and believe me, that is saying something. Charlie retired in 2011. Happily, the school is still in the care of a talented and conscientious teaching staff, well led from the front.

The Foundation started supporting the School by presenting two prizes at the Annual Celebration of Achievement Evening. We present a prize for the best essay (written under the aegis of the English Department) about the annual trip to the Battlefields, which the Third Year students undertake each year. These essays are not meant to be historically accurate, but rather more a description of the emotional impact of the visit. We also present a prize for the best dissertation by S6 students, on varied subjects. The standard of writing in both cases is extremely high, year on year.

It is hoped that the Foundation will eventually be able to extend this support to other areas of the School’s activities, and then, ultimately, to other aspects of the life of Kelso and surrounding villages.Almost certainly I won’t be able to achieve very much on my own, so my hope is that in future years we may be able to garner the help and input from Former Pupils like me. However, that is presently very much a work in progress but my hope is that we will be able to start addressing this aspect of the Foundation’s activities reasonably soon.

John Cawthorn

The Russell Cawthorn Collection - The 1926 Foundation
The 1926 Foundation is a charity registered in Scotland: No. SCO40789
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