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St Leonard's & Greyfriars RC Primary School - St. Andrews

This was a challenging visit, mainly as a consequence of the early morning journey to St Andrews from Edinburgh which took longer than I thought. The day before we were in Aberdeen and on my way home I called in to see Muir at Donaldson's College Lodge in Linlithgow where he lives four nights a week. It was a long day with an early rise the next morning to be at St Leonards in St Andrews for 8 30am. In the twilight zone I had a vague recollection of Anna telling me to avoid Cupar because of road works and instead take the scenic route to St Andrews, via Leven.  So I did, getting up half an hour earlier than planned - and I got stuck behind every lorry and school bus that seem to be scheduled to exactly coincide with every corner that I turned. It was touch and go almost all of the way with my Satnav up dating my ETA as I travelled, so near and yet it seemed to be always so far. But I made it, just and no more. 

The welcome was fantastic, although I suspect the Deputy Headmaster, Dr Geoffrey Jackson-Hutt was as keen to see me as I was to have arrived on time.  The entire school was waiting 'patiently' in the assembly hall. I sat on stage on a garden bench, in a rose garden as Dr Jackson-Hutt addressed a few housekeeping matters and then introduced me. I suspect the stage was set for a school play that was being staged during the course of that week. 

300 expectant faces looked up at me as I delivered a 30 minute talk with slides, in just 20 minutes which was the time allocated. It was no mean feat, no doubt helped by the fact that my pulse was still racing with the fear of being late and letting everyone down. I know I connected with this school.  I could see it in their faces, I could feel it in the atmosphere in the room. It is a very personal story that I share with students but if they are receptive and listening they are quickly drawn in and the story just flows. 

There was a queue of people at the stage door waiting to speak to me afterwards. Some extremely polite young people came to say thank you and well done. The art teacher came to tell me about a DVD she has been working on with students that will be released for sale on the school's open day in September - she would like the proceeds of sale to go to MMT.  Other students came to share their stories of epilepsy with me. 

The Headmaster, Mr Andrew Lang, reminded me that the school has a long list of charities waiting for their support but he was so impressed with the way that my story connected with the students that he was determined to move us up the list and rally some fundraising support for September. This was all music to my ears and made the fact that I arrived on time and did not let St Leonard's down, all the more pleasing. 

Thank you for all this St Leonard's and an even bigger thank you for your fundraising support. 

"Our children were moved by Ann’s presentation. I was very impressed with how Ann has taken a personal misfortune and turned it to so much good, not only for Muir, who has suffered brain damage from epilepsy, but for so many other people with epilepsy as well. It is not just how Ann makes us aware of and sympathise with epilepsy sufferers and their families but also how she has achieved so much, raising so much money for so much good.  She is an inspiration to us all, showing how much an individual can do if one only puts one’s mind to it and follows it through with conviction. 

We enjoyed her presentation and are very glad she came to visit.  I thank Lauren Moffat for arranging the visit and look forward to the fund-raising we shall do on order to help.  It is nice to have a teddy bear to help; I am sure he will go to a good home and help raise money for the Muir Maxwell Trust on his journey there."
Andrew Lang, Head of Senior School, St Leonards

St Leonards SchoolSt Leonards SchoolSt Leonards School

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And so it was, on this sunny day, on to Greyfriars RC Primary School, just 5 minutes away from the Main Street in St Andrews.  This time I spoke to some 80 or so P4 - P7 pupils, a much more interactive talk with slides and pupil participation. As I keep saying, I just love talking to this age group about epilepsy. They are without doubt the most open minded and the most curious without any inhibitions when it comes to questions - and the questions were prolific. 

Again, a wonderful welcome was extended to us by the Headteacher, Mrs Caroline Nash and also P7 teacher Miss Colette Vaughey who kindly fielded all the questions for me. Thank you for listening so nicely Greyfriars Primary School and thank you for your hospitality, good manners and great behaviour. It was truly a pleasure to visit you.  

And so I drove back to Edinburgh, or rather to the airport for a flight to London to catch up on some business matters there and then on to Barcelona for a short rest whilst Mr Maxwell, MMT's Chairman and my husband, spoke at a business school there and I spent my time running by the sea - that is until my cold got the better of me. 

Always the best laid plans!

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