Scotland’s Young Braveheart

I know many people, particularly readers from outside the
UK, have been interested in the story of Rory Blackhall, the
eleven year old Livingston schoolboy who was murdered on his
first day back at school, August 18.

His body was discovered three days later in nearby woods,
and a man, Simon Harris, later hanged himself. The official
line is that evidence gathered by police would have been
sufficient to charge Harris with Rory’s murder, and
enquiries are now closed.

Rory was a boy who loved his native country, Scotland, and
his parents decided to have his coffin draped in the
Scottish flag, known as the Saltire, and they asked everyone
at the funeral to wear tartan.

Scottish Saltire

This morning a lone piper at the ceremony played the well-
known song and unofficial anthem, ‘Flower Of Scotland’.

Indeed, Rory’s love of Scotland was reflected throughout the

A minister and family friend quoted the Russian writer
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn:

“Some people are bound to die young. By dying young a
person stays young forever in people’s memory. If he burns
brightly in life, his light shines for all time.”

Apparently Rory’s light shone brightly in life. His mother

“Rory’s smile could melt hearts at 20 paces and his cheery
good mornings would make many a shopper’s day.”

I’m sure you’ll wish to join me in offering our sincere
condolences, not only to only to Rory’s family, but to all families
whose lives have been blighted in a similar way.

As a teacher and writer, my work brings me into almost daily
contact with children and their parents.

Often I’m reminded of something my Grandmother used to say
to us. She lived in Clydebank, a town badly bombed during
World War II. Apparently a wise old nun said to her AFTER
the war:

“The next war will be a war of nerves.”

Many parents today would agree with that!

The big question:

What can we do to help restore the balance and respect for
life that often seem so sadly lacking?

The Scottish Saltire

Scottish Saltire

Scotland has two flags, the Saltire (blue and white) and the
Lion Rampant (yellow and red).

The Lion Rampant is supposed to be used only by royalty and
on official occasions, and the Saltire is the ‘everyday’
flag used by the people.

It consists of a blue background with a white St Andrew’s
cross to the fore.

This is the oldest flag in Europe, and the story goes that
hundreds of years ago (even before ‘Braveheart’ William
Wallace’s day) the Scots were involved in a battle in
Lothian (near Rory’s home).

The night before the battle the cloud formation in the blue
sky resembled the shape of the cross of St Andrew, our
patron saint.

This encouraged the Scots and they were victorious the next

The blue background in the flag should be azure (sky blue),
but that was considered too light a shade, and the flag has
evolved with a deeper shade of blue.

The St Andrew’s flag, or Saltire, is incorporated into the
Union Jack, the flag of the United Kingdom, although here the blue
has deepened even more and is a navy shade.

Update On Gary

You may have read about Gary, the abandoned baby found by a
police officer. (See the story below.)

His mother has not yet been traced, but Gary is recovering
and is going from strength to strength.

I’m sure he’ll be placed in a good home soon.

To finish, here’s a wee picture of my dog, Ben, doing what he
loves most: exploring the Scottish hills!

Ben exploring

Keep blogging!


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