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100th birthday celebrations for retired Wick PE teacher


By Jean Gunn

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Retired Wick PE teacher Mr Allan Abernethy, who is celebrating his 100th birthday this weekend, is photographed here at Lybster harbour in 2015.
Retired Wick PE teacher Mr Allan Abernethy, who is celebrating his 100th birthday this weekend, is photographed here at Lybster harbour in 2015.

A FORMER Wick High School teacher will be celebrating his 100th birthday this weekend with a special afternoon tea at the Mackays Hotel along with friends and family.

Allan Abernethy, who was born on September 22, 1919, was a physical education teacher in Wick for almost 30 years.

He taught alongside his late wife Margaret, who was also a PE teacher.

His son William said: "They were both passionate about the teaching of swimming in the school."

Mr Abernethy was the Scoutmaster of 1st Wick Scouts for many years when they were situated at Harrowhill and Mrs Abernethy was the Cub master. Part of the Harrowhill grounds was sold for the building of the original Caithness Glass factory.

Allan Abernethy (middle) in a Scout photograph.
Allan Abernethy (middle) in a Scout photograph.

The retired teacher was an active member of Wick Golf Club, particularly the seniors section, and he and his wife were also country members of the Dornoch club, enjoying many breaks at Dornoch in their caravan.

Mr Abernethy was also a member of the Caithness Field Club.

He was born in the schoolhouse at Auchinloch, Lanarkshire, where his father William was the headmaster. His mother's name was Margaret.

The youngest of four, he had two sisters and a brother – they lived to the ages of ages 92, 106 and 102.

After attending Lenzie Academy and Uddingston Grammar secondary schools he went to Jordanhill College where he trained as a gym teacher. However, his studies were interrupted by World War II when he served in the Navy.

After the war, Mr Abernethy completed his teacher training in schools around Glasgow where he met his future wife. They married in 1947 and had two sons, William and Wilson.

They came to Caithness around 1951 with the major attraction being the availability of housing which was in short supply after the war. The family lived in Bilbster schoolhouse to start with, then moved to a teacher’s house in South Road, Wick.

Mr Abernethy initially taught PE in the country primary schools throughout Caithness, then moved on to Wick High School, where he became the principal teacher of PE.


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