RHS Former Pupil Biographies

Rector Pauline Walker recently asked the School Historian to create a number of contemporary biographies. This is not to say that Walter Scott, Alexander Graham Bell or Ronnie Corbett are not special, simply that there are many pupils in the Barnton era, and even since the millennium who have made considerable names for themselves.    We have included one from an earlier era (Doug McCracken, leaving year 1961) as he contacted the Club late last year, and the resultant story is, we think, very worthwhile.    Other names are in the course of construction and consideration, and will be included in this topic in due course.

Use the links in the table below to view a brief biography. Within the brief biographies there are links to the RHS Interview and a gallery of photos. There is also a PDF for each subject which can be downloaded and printed.

RHS FP Biographies Summaries

In addition to the detailed interviews on these pages, the RHS History project has compiled shorter biographies in a longer list of distinguished FPs which is available in PDF format and may be downloaded. The names on the list at the top of the document link to a summary biography and photograph.

RHS FP Mini Biographies Linking to Interviews

Charlie Shiel

Charlie Shiel   2015 – Rugby player
Charlie left school having been voted the Sports personality of 2015 at the WAC.    He was already in the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) academy, and has gone on to secure a contract and regular appearances with Edinburgh Rugby, also appearances in Scotland’s 7’s squad.    Charlie has been encouraged by the SRU to try different occupations, and one of his options has been hairdressing – he’s now the Edinburgh squad clipper.    He’s also keen to explore Architecture as an option after his Rugby career.

See our interview and photogallery or view a short personal video (external website), or see his role as ‘Chico the barber’ (external website).

Get the PDF of the Charlie Shiel Interview

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Izuka Hoyle

Izuka Hoyle 2012 –Stage and Film actor and singer

Izuka (formerly Chantelle) Hoyle joined the School in 2008 from Cramond Primary.    In her interview, she describes Music as her favourite subject, and aged 14 and moving into her third year in 2010, she was cast as ‘Motormouth Maybelle’, one of the principals in ‘Hairspray’, the last of three stellar musicals produced by the School between 2007 and 2010.     She had her eye on a theatrical career, left school at the end of her fourth year in 2012, and spent two years at MGA Academy in Edinburgh. Then, Dick Whittington-style, moved down to London to follow her dreams at Chiswick’s Arts Education School, graduating and winning the Sondheim prize in 2017.    She was named by The Evening Standard as a ‘Rising Star’, and quickly landed the role of Mary Seaton in the 2018 epic ‘Mary Queen of Scots’. Her career has blossomed from there, with appearances on the London stage, and in several films.     If you want to hear Izuka’s terrific singing voice, watch her sing ‘You should see her fly’ from the Sci-Fi musical ‘Fanatical’.

Read the Izuka Hoyle Interview

Get the PDF of the Izuka Hoyle Interview

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Emily Hogarth

Emily Hogarth 2003 – Graphic designer, Illustrator, Mother and dog lover.
After Flora Stevenson’s Primary School, Emily attended Royal High from 1997. Her favourite subjects were Art, Graphic design and History. She went straight to Edinburgh college of art after school, and graduated with a degree and Masters in design. She started her own company (emilyhogarth.com) and specialises in papercut artwork and personalised papercut commissions and collaborations with other brands. She considers herself lucky to have worked on many exciting projects throughout her career including working on designs for the National Gallery of Scotland, the new Sick Kids hospital in Edinburgh, Cadburys, Nivea, Red Magazine as well as publishing three books about papercutting.
And, oh yes – the Westie is named Mary!

Get the PDF of the Emily Hogarth Interview

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Lee Cockburn

Lee Cockburn 1986 – Police Inspector, Rugby player and Author
Lee’s sporting prowess was evident at school, winning prizes in swimming and athletics. She went on to represent Scotland at rugby for over a decade in a distinguished career that saw her win numerous international championships. Working in the police force has provided Lee with the experiences to pursue another talent by writing gripping crime novels. Lee joined the Police in 2000, and interspersed that career with International Rugby (77 Scottish and 4 ‘Classic Lioness’ caps) and her authorship, and is also known as a very popular after dinner speaker.
Lee’s message to all pupils is be kind, treat people like you would like to be treated.  Don’t let anyone say that you can’t do it, or you need to change.    Fight for your dreams, and go out there and live them. Click here for an Evening News article about Trunchbull

Go to the Lee Cockburn Interview

Get the PDF of the Lee Cockburn Interview

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Colin Todd

Colin Todd MBE 1969 – Fire Safety Engineer
Colin was awarded the MBE in the New Year Honours 2020 for ‘Services to the Fire Industry’. Since the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower he has made a major contribution to the reviews and investigation into the circumstances and causes of the fire, which has been recognised with this award.
Colin’s initial degree course was in Veterinary Surgery, but after one year he changed to Physics, in which he graduated with a BSc in 1974, and followed that with an MSc in 1975 – a Post Graduate in Fire Safety Engineering. He has run his own business C.S.Todd & Associates since 1982, but despite being much in demand, as can be seen from his photo gallery, he finds the time to be a very regular attendee at RHS London Club dinners.

Read his interview covering his time at the RHS and his career as a pioneer in Fire Safety Engineering

Get the PDF of the Colin Todd Interview

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Doug McCracken

Doug McCracken 1961 – US businessman
The Royal High in 1959 wasn’t really prepared for the arrival of a Yank, particularly one with a crew cut. He was parachuted into Edinburgh in 1959 with his parents and sister, due to his Dad being temporarily transferred to a Uniroyal post in Edinburgh.
He quickly became a favourite however, as the first athlete we had ever seen throwing a rugby ball torpedo-style, as someone who could get away with outrageous ‘uniform’, and as someone who was given quite a bit of latitude by teachers (but not by one of the Music department!). Doug spins a great account of his time at School, his trips away with athletics, rugby and basketball, including his tussles with Corporation bus conductors who wouldn’t allow his vaulting pole to come on board. He talks about his family and his work, but a lot about his time at the Royal High which he clearly saw as very special.

See his account of his two years at Royal High,  a slideshow of some of his school activities, and life after retirement.
(Many thanks to Stuart Macmillan for photos and biography content).

Get the PDF of the Doug McCracken Interview with photographs

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