Michael Marks
Primary: London then Harris Academy
Secondary: 1948-54
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Born in London, I emigrated to Scotland in 1946. (My father was assigned by NCR as a “key worker” to help employ and train staff as part of government effort to rejuvenate employment in Dundee following WW2.)

As we first lived just off the Perth Road, I started primary school at the Harris Academy but was fortunate enough to live closer to the Morgan when I was eleven years old, hence the change of school.

The two most memorable events of my six years at the Morgan were the school trip to Austria (making good use of my German teacher’s efforts) followed a year later by a subsidised month-long visit to Yugoslavia. I suppose these early experiences contributed to the wanderlust which shaped my life from then on.

Following National Service, I started a career in sales and marketing, initially in South-East England. Working mainly in the pharmaceutical industry, I became involved in viral diagnostic techniques which led to much travel on the Continent. During this time I became a Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society and specialised in the fluorescent antibody technique.

In 1971 Beecham Research International sent me to Manila to manage their business in the Philippines. Five years later I joined a Swiss trading company (still based in Manila) as senior vice-president and spent a very interesting time there for the next seven years.

Having spent twelve years in Asia, my wife and I decided to return to the UK as we didn’t want to become permanent “ex-pats”. However, life is never that simple and so a year later we found ourselves living in Beijing. I had been head-hunted and couldn’t resist the opportunity to see China at that time. We were there for the next year. This was back in 1984/5 and I believe there were only about 150 British people there. Incredibly, three of us had been at the Morgan during the 1950’s, although not in the same class.

In 1985 we again returned to the UK and I acquired a small franchising company which I developed and finally sold in 1998 when we retired to South-West France where we still live. The peace and quiet, fabulous scenery, wine, food, sunshine and lack of traffic add up to make it the Perfect Place!

My wife Sheila (née Beaton) was born in Alyth and attended Blairgowrie High School, followed by Dundee teachers’ training college. She spent many years teaching in England and we have two daughters. The elder (Fiona) is married and is now living in Abu Dhabi. Before that she was in banking and worked as a money dealer in the City. The younger (Vivien) is also married and is the head cosmetics and perfumes buyer for a large department store. Neither has any children, which is a great relief to Sheila and me! On our return from China Sheila took over a select directors’ luncheon business and produced lunches for small groups of City people in London.

Sheila and I still play tennis and recently chalked up a major milestone. We mainly play doubles and the four of our ages added up to 300, which needed a bottle of champagne to celebrate. We also still enjoy playing Bridge.

Travel to Dundee has been regular over the years, but will be less now that my mother died earlier this year. She had been in Dundee and Invergowrie for some 64 years, still retaining a little of her original South African accent!

Condom, Gascony, November 2010