In December last year, Alex Johnstone, a long serving Conservative MSP for the North East, died after a short illness.
Joint sponsorship by Mearns Heritage Services, and the English – Speaking Union (ESU) Scotland resulted in a large silver Quaich, being designed and presented to his widow Linda.
The trophy was presented to Linda in March, and was made to honour the significant contribution by Alex, to all things Scottish, and his work for the people of Angus and the Mearns
It was agreed that the trophy should be presented to Mearns and Mackie Academy, for the purpose of an annual debate between the two schools, on a current Scottish issue, as Alex thrived on a robust and informed debate at Holyrood and elsewhere.
The Quaich was presented to Linda in March by Dave Ramsay, Mearns Heritage Services, and MEP Ian Duncan (now Lord Duncan) who is President of the ESU, and he shared a close relationship with Alex over a number of years.
Alex was educated at Mackie Academy, and Linda at Mearns Academy, so it was a perfect partnership for the schools and the trophy.
Recently in the Conservative Club in Stonehaven, the trophy was presented to Dave Martindale, Head Teacher at Mearns Academy and Head prefects, James Poppleton and Emily Donald, and Kat Thoirs, DHT, with pupils Rachel Anderson and Darcy Ralph from Mackie Academy.
Linda Johnstone said, “I am delighted that the name and legacy of Alex will live on through this trophy, and hope that it will encourage a future generation of young debaters to follow in the footsteps of an inspirational servant of the North East.
“Alex learned his debating skills while still at school, and he made his voice heard when debating issues and voicing concerns for the people of Angus and the Mearns.”
Lord Duncan has expressed a strong desire to attend the inaugural debate with Linda, when a date is fixed, to round off this lasting tribute to Alex.
Dave Ramsay, Mearns Heritage Services said,“Alex and Linda were great supporters of many of my heritage projects, and it has been a pleasure working with Linda, to bring about this fitting tribute to Alex, and ensure that his memory lives on, through this trophy.
If you have a story or photograph which you would like to see featured in the Mearns Leader and Kincardineshire Observer, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (01569) 785702.