Dux medal awarded after 75 years

Mrs Harris (centre) with Councillor Margaret Kennedy (left) and head teacher Carol Opdahl.
Mrs Harris (centre) with Councillor Margaret Kennedy (left) and head teacher Carol Opdahl.

An 86-year-old Cupar woman, whose original 1940 dux medal from Castlehill Primary School was thought to have been melted down as part of the war effort, has finally been presented with a medal she can keep!

Margaret Harris admitted this week that she was “over the moon” to receive the dux medal at a special ceremony at the school, attended by all the children and staff.

Margaret Harris

Margaret Harris

Born in Tayport, Margaret (then Ritchie) joined the roll of the school as a six-year-old and went on to excel by taking the primary’s top award.

She was actually presented with the medal 75 years ago, but it appears that the shortage of metal during the World War meant it never went home with her.

She had been promised a replica at the time, but it did not materialise...until Monday’s assembly.

Mrs Harris, who was accompanied by family members at the assembly at which the children sang, was given her dux medal by Cupar councillor Margaret Kennedy.

Castlehill head teacher Carol Opdahl said school days in Mrs Harris’s time were very different to the present, although the aim of achievement was still the same.

She pointed out that Mrs Harris recalled all pupils walking to the old Castlehill - near the town’s Corn Exchange- as there were no buses or cars transporting the children.

Boys wore shorts all year round, while the girls were in skirts, with trousers banned.

Margaret, she added, particularly enjoyed learning languages and arithmetic - with maths only coming on the timetable at Bell Baxter school.

After Monday’s presentation, Mrs Harris said: “It was a lovely day and I didn’t expect all the boys and girls to be there.”