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Community / ‘A sparkle in the eye and a sharpness of mind’: warm tributes to late Geordie Jamieson

Former head teacher and keen footballer will be sadly missed

The late Geordie Jamieson, a highly respected former Anderson High School head teacher who died aged 84 this week.

WARM tributes have been paid to one of Shetland’s most prominent and highly respected educators of the modern era, Geordie Jamieson, who has died aged 84.

The pinnacle of an exemplary teaching career was the 13 years he spent as Anderson High School head teacher prior to his retirement in 1995.

Before being appointed to the most senior role in 1982, he had been assistant head working under the late John Graham for many years, having begun teaching at what was then the Anderson Educational Institute in 1960.

He passed away on Monday following a short illness a couple of weeks before what would have been his 85th birthday.

Former colleague Stewart Hay spoke effusively of a “remarkable” man who had “a sparkle in the eye and a sharpness of mind that you only really realised after he had engaged with you”.

“Whether you were a student in the corridor of the school or a person in the street or someone in the hills walking with George, you realised you were in the company of somebody quite special,” Hay reflected this week.

“He had the capacity to talk to people, engage people, but most of all to share with people wisdom – and by wisdom I mean that George had a feeling for and a touch for the community that he lived in: in the smaller sense the Unst he loved, and in the bigger sense the islands of Shetland and way beyond those islands.

“I can only say that George enriched this community hugely, he gave it a little bit of the special character he was and a massive amount of the talent he had.”

Shetland Islands Council’s education and families committee chairman George Smith said he was saddened to learn of his death.

“His contribution to education in Shetland over the years was immense and he inspired pupils and staff alike to achieve high standards in whatever they did,” Smith said.

Geordie gave a highly entertaining speech as part of Shetland Football Association’s centenary celebration in 2019. Photo: Bryan Gray.

“George also contributed greatly to community life whether that be through sporting activity or volunteering with groups such as the Unst Youth Centre Trust. He will be missed by many and my thoughts are with his family at this time.”

He was also a keen and talented amateur footballer, playing for his beloved Unst in the Parish Cup and for Lerwick Hibs in his earlier years.

After returning from university, Geordie joined Scalloway FC and was part of their hugely successful side in the 1960s, also earning a Milne Cup cap against Orkney in 1961 and representing Shetland in other games too.

He was closely involved in Shetland Football Association’s centenary celebrations in 2019, giving a meticulously prepared and delivered speech at an association dinner that former Scotland manager Craig Brown, also speaking that night, described as a “hard act to follow”.

An SFA spokesman described him as “a gentleman who certainly served our community with humour, passion and selflessness” and said he would be “very sadly missed by us all”.

Geordie is survived by his wife Lorraine, their daughter Morag Mouat and her husband Steven, and grandson Michael and his wife Sarah.

The family have set up a JustGiving page in Geordie’s memory to raise money for Cancer Research (Shetland) and local youth charities, which has so far raised more than £4,500. You can donate here.