The Clerk to the Governors of the Dick Bequest Trust, Mrs S. M. Masterton, W.S., has informed Councillor Charles Buchan of his appointed as a Governor of the Trust.
Newly elected Councillor Buchan was one of two nominees from Aberdeenshire Council to take the role.
Councillor Buchan told the Fraserburgh Herald that the Dick Bequest Trust was set up more than 200 years ago, at a time when country teachers were employed by the local parish, and were generally poorly paid, resulting in schools being unable to attract good qualified teachers.
He added that James Dick was born in the Forres, but was sent to the West Indies by his family to prevent him from marrying one of the family’s servants. There, he made his fortune, becoming a wealthy merchant.
On his death, he bequeathed the sum of £113787 to set up a trust to encourage learning and efficient teaching.
He restricted the trust benefits to certain parts of the present Aberdeenshire and Moray, including the Fraserburgh and Peterhead districts.
The success of the trust’s efforts became obvious very quickly. The North-east of Scotland soon built up a reputation for excellent schooling, some of which remains to this day. The number of educated men, such as scientists, doctors, government administrators, and university professors, produced by these parish schools, was far above what would be expected from the relatively small population.
After the 1872 Education Act, the Trust’s focus changed.
Now it uses the fund’s income to provide grant assistance to teachers in the area to attend courses to improve their teaching skills, and for teaching equipment.
The Trust is run by the Society ot Writers to the Signet in Edinburgh, and its deadline for applications is in April every year.