Death of former school head

Andrew Kilgariff
Andrew Kilgariff

ANDREW Kilgariff, who was a popular head teacher of Castlehill Primary School in Cupar for 20 years before taking early retirement in 2006, has died suddenly, aged 66.

Born the second of nine children in 1947, Andy spent his childhood in Govan, Glasgow, where he enjoyed writing and won a number of book prizes.

A ‘larger than life’ character, with a huge zest for life, his humour, generosity and kindness were mentioned by many family members, friends and former colleagues following his death.

When he left school in 1965 he went to work with pet food producers Spillers Limited for two years before deciding to train as a teacher.

The career change came about after he was asked to give a talk to primary five pupils about pet foods and farm animal feeding.

He started teaching at Saracen Primary School, Possilpark, Glasgow, in 1970.

Three years later, at the age of just 26, he was promoted to head teacher at Rogart, Sutherland , becoming the youngest head in Scotland.

He held other head teacher posts at Inverbervie and Duns before he came to Cupar in 1986, taking responsibility for what was shortly to become the largest primary school in Scotland.

A member of Cupar and latterly Perth Chess Clubs, he was 40 before he began to play competitively.

His passion for the game was passed on to many pupils at Castlehill.

He was also a former president of Perth Chess Club and, in recognition of his contribution, was made an honorary life member.

His interest in the game was sparked when he was 12 and continued through his secondary school years when he enjoyed taking part in mini leagues.

Recalling his childhood days in Glasgow, he would proudly tell of the many times he sneaked in to Ibrox to watch Rangers in action, as well as watching one of his fellow school pupils, a certain Sir Alex Ferguson, turning out for Govan High.

A talented footballer in his youth, Andy also displayed his skills at table tennis, bowling and as a highly accomplished basketball player and coach.

Another of his loves was writing short stories and poetry, with his first story published when he was teacher training at Jordanhill.

Having retired early, his ambition was to become a published children’s author, with his dream being finally realised in January when ‘Hadrian and the Moonbiscuit’ was released on to the market by Austin and McAulay.

A member of Perthshire Writers Group, he was awarded the Olive Lawrie Trophy for his short story ‘The Match.’

Two years ago, at the Annual Celebration of the Arts Festival, in Perth Soutar Theatre, a piece Andy had written, called ‘Hogmanay in Perth City Centre’ (a Tam O’Shanter-style of anecdote), was performed.

Andy - whose funeral service was held last week at Perth Crematorium - is survived by his wife, Linda, daughter, Julie, and grandson.