A REGULAR “Brechin Advertiser” reader from the other side of the Atlantic, has contacted us to underline his interest in the recent stories featuring locals who previously were awarded the Smart medal.
Lesley McKay now lives in Richmond, the state capital of Virginia, in the United States of America.
However, as Lesley explained, his family have very strong connections with Brechin and a very keen interest in the Smart Medal, his father having been a previous recipient.
Lesley said: “I was very interested to read the article that was published in the February 2, 2011 “Advertiser” regarding the Smart Medal and some of its history.
“Most of my family live in Scotland and England and they were kind enough to send my mother and father a copy of the article. We now live in Richmond, VA in the USA.
“My father (James McKay) was awarded the medal in 1938 or 1939, we think. He was an 11 year old boy at the time and, we believe, he may have been one of the last to receive an actual medal.
“My mother tells me that he was a very shy boy and refused to actually go and receive the medal; instead, his father (my grandfather) came to collect the award.
“When pressed to explain why he didn’t want to receive the award himself, he explained that he felt odd since he had only moved to Brechin the year before.
“As the “new kid”, he was afraid of what all the other children would think.
“Also, the kids had told him that part of the ceremony included kissing the woman who would present him the medal - he definitely wasn’t interested!
“In any event, I thought my dad’s story may be of interest and was wondering if there were any archival records available?
“After graduating from what we call grade school, he went on to attend Brechin High School. He won the Dux in English while he was there.
“He also met my mother (Mary Graham) while in high school and they’ve been married nearly 60 years.
“Dad went on to complete medical school at Aberdeen University.
“Of course World War II was underway by then, so, after graduating University, he spent two years in the British Army Medical Corps. He was stationed in Singapore.
“When he returned from Singapore, he spent three years in England, practicing medicine.
He and my mother decided to emigrate to the US, ending up first in Morganton, NC (where I was born).
They then moved to Richmond, VA, where dad practiced medicine for 40 years.
“I hope readers of the “Brechin Advertiser” find the rest of my parents’ story interesting.”