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100th birthday celebrations for retired north-east headteacher

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A popular retired headteacher has reached a notable milestone celebrating his 100th birthday at home with his wife.

Joseph W Simpson, who lives in Mearns Drive with his wife, Margaret, spent his entire teaching career in the north-east and is a well-known face in the local community.

As well as his passion for education, Joe was closely involved with school football and enjoyed watching one of his ‘discoveries’, Don Masson from Banchory, go on to play for Scotland.

Joe’s career as a teacher began at Pitmedden School before being appointed headteacher at Catterline Primary in 1956.


He spent three years in the village before filling the same position at St Cyrus, where he taught for nine years before moving to Fetteresso Primary in Stonehaven in 1968.

© Supplied by Family of Joe Simpson
Joseph celebrates 100 years in style along with his wife Margaret

On the opening of the current Mackie Academy two years later, the original building was renamed Arduthie Primary School and Joe became the first headteacher working there. He remained there until his retirement in 1981.

Glasgow-born Joe was educated at Hutchesons Grammar School on the south side of the city before taking a place at Glasgow University in 1941.

He interrupted his studies to volunteer for service in the RAF during World War II and spent five years in the Signals Corps in India.

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On his return to Scotland, he enrolled at Aberdeen University and graduated with an M.A. Dip Ed degree. A passionate sportsman, he was also awarded a Football Blue and represented the Scottish Universities against the English Universities.

While at university, he met his future wife, Margaret, who subsequently taught physical education in a variety of schools in Kincardineshire, including Carronhill in Stonehaven.

He was a member at both Stonehaven and Edzell Golf Clubs and only hung up his clubs at the age of 97.

© Supplied by Family of Joe Simpson
Joseph with his wife Margaret and his birthday card from the Queen

The couple, who are both ‘weel kent faces’ around the Stonehaven, have four grown-up children – Gordon, Alistair, Jacqueline and Keith – along with seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at all these schools, engaging with the children and the wider communities,” said Joe. “It was a pleasure to teach so many enthusiastic pupils and to follow their progress in life afterwards.”

Frustratingly, the current Covid-19 restrictions have made it impossible for the extended Simpson family to gather together for his centenary celebrations. However, Joe’s 100th birthday will be marked in the style it deserves once lockdown ends.

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