Tuesday 7 August 2012: Thanks.
This is Charles Kerr Marr, the coal merchent , shipping charterer and benefactor who left his fortune to the people of the wee Scottish seaside town of Troon so that they could have their own secondary school.
Marr College , as it is still called, opened in 1935 and my father was in the first intake. I was there from 1964 to 1970 , along with my brothers and my cousins. This bust of Marr sits in the school's impressive granite entrance hall.
Marr College was, and is, a very good school - the first real comprehensive in Scotland, which all the children of the town attended. Although run by the Marr Trust it always involved Ayrshire Councty Council and after the abolition of grant aided education it became part of the local authority structure and is now run by South Ayrshire Council.
I was once barred from visiting as an MSP because I had criticised the delpidation of the buildings (on which much work has now been done )but that incident is well in the past.
So it was a great pleasure to be there this morning and to share with some of the pupils, their families and their teachers, the moment when they learnt what they had gained in the SQA exams. This video on the Government website and You Tube channel gives you a flavour of the visit.
Thanks to the whole school community for having me. Thanks also to Mrs McGregor-Sloman, the new Head Teacher for what she is doing to take the school forward.
But my most special thanks on this day of educational achievement throughout Scotland is to Charles Kerr Marr for making it all possible for me and my family and for many others in the place I was brought up.