New Stewart’s Melville College FP Club President Ken Russell aims to increase the mutual support between the club and the school community during his presidency as well as seek donations for the school’s Access to Excellence Bursary Fund from the wider business community.
Ken, a pupil of Melville College between 1952 and 1965, was elected for a two-year term at the January 13 meeting of the club’s Council and chaired the February meeting. His duties include an ambassadorial role representing the FP Club and school at various functions, including Branch Club events, and acting as a link between the FP Club and the school. He will also oversee the transition of the day-to-day management and administration of the club to the school.
Ken is particularly keen that the mutual support between the club and the school increases during the challenging times we now face. Having already overseen the completion of a substantial donation by the club to the Hardship Fund, Ken will use his presidency to fundraise further among FPs and the wider business community for the fund and the school’s Development Office. In return, he hopes to work with the Development Office to increase awareness of and engagement with the club among former pupils, resulting in higher membership.
Speaking about his plans, Ken says: “The economic, financial, social and emotional challenges we face as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic have provided us with an opportunity for the FP Club to work closer with the school in supporting each other – helping the Development Office and Access to Excellence support current and future pupils and their families while working together to make former pupils aware of the many social and networking benefits of club membership beyond the ones associated with the club’s sporting activities.
“I also feel the FP Club and its members are well placed to use their extensive social and business networks to seek new donations from the wider business community for Access to Excellence in order to pass on to current and future generations of pupils the benefits of a first-rate education they enjoyed while a pupil themselves. I look forward to the support of club members in this goal.
“I’d like to thank Past Presidents Charles S. Wilson MBE and Robert Barclay for guiding the club through a challenging period including successfully managing the Clubhouse and latterly to Robert in steering the Club through the significant challenges created by Covid restrictions.”
Ken’s links with the club and school go beyond his own attendance at Melville College and membership of the FP clubs since leaving – his uncle, Alistair Birrell (DSC 1940) was a Past President of Daniel Stewart's FP Rugby Club and his cousin, broadcaster Mike Russell was also an FP of Daniel Stewart's (1959). Ken has also been a member of The Royal Company of Merchants of The City of Edinburgh for 44 years.
Ken is the third generation of an entrepreneurial Edinburgh family with interests in construction, property and the automotive sectors. After leaving school he travelled extensively throughout the USA before spending a semester at Lincoln Way High School, New Lenox, Illinois. Ken then spent five years as a management trainee with a national construction group before joining his family construction business in Edinburgh.
Following his father’s unexpected death Ken, then aged 25, assumed responsibility for his family’s business interests, which under his stewardship continued to flourish for the next 40 years, including acquiring one of Scotland’s most award-winning motor dealerships and being a co-founder of the internationally-renowned Howtowdie Restaurant in Edinburgh’s West End.
A Fellow of the Institute of Directors, Ken has also been a member of The Society of Edinburgh High Constables, Scottish Motor Trade Association, Federation of Master Builders (Past President), St Andrews Business Club (Past President), Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and a founder member of the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce. Now resident in North-East Fife, Ken is an award-winning business mentor, board advisor and is currently non-executive chairman of two companies.
Ken and his wife Ann have a daughter, three sons and five grandchildren. His other interests include cycling, hillwalking and speechwriting. Ken is currently writing a biography of Ann’s career in nursing.