Friday the 5th of March

...to the ends of the earth

“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Andy ends on a high note with a little help from his friends

A popular caretaker at a Catholic school and lifelong Beatles fan has described his amazement after receiving a signed letter from Sir Paul McCartney to wish him well in his retirement.

Janitor Andy Cairns was presented with the special note at a surprise assembly on his last day at the Edinburgh school where he has worked for the last four years.

Sir Paul sent the note – in which he urges the caretaker to ‘keep rockin’’ – after all of the children at St Cuthbert’s RC Primary School wrote to the star telling him about Andy.

Speaking after the presentation, Mr Cairns, who recently turned 65, told Press Association Scotland: “I’m a big Beatles fan. The kids had sent letters to his office and he responded, which was amazing.

“I’m just overwhelmed. I thought I was in a dream at first. Words can’t describe it, I’m such a fan, it’s just amazing.”

Mr Cairns is retiring after 50 years of work, primarily as a mechanic and more recently as janitor at the school.

The typed and hand-signed letter from the Beatles star reads: ‘The children of St Cuthbert’s have sent me lots of letters to tell me how much they like you so I reckon you must be quite a good guy.

‘I want to wish you all the very best on your retirement and remember keep rockin’!’

The school assembly held for Mr Cairns on Thursday 30th March also included a special ‘This is your Life’ event for him, to which his family and friends were invited.

Class teacher Jennifer Lawrie explained why she came up with the idea of having the pupils contact Sir Paul to tell him about Andy and his impending retirement. “I thought, ‘why don’t we just give it a go?’

“Andy sings The Beatles from the minute he gets in the door to the minute he leaves.”

She said staff were amazed to receive the letter from the star and had to keep it secret from the caretaker for several days. He was “absolutely thrilled” when they were finally able to hand over the paperwork, she said. Ms Lawrie added: “Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most famous people in the world and the fact he’s taken time out of his very busy schedule to write a letter means the world to Andy.”

Picture: School caretaker and lifelong Beatles fan Andy Cairns holds a signed letter from Sir Paul McCartney wishing him well on his retirement, after pupils at St Cuthbert’s Primary School in Edinburgh wrote to Sir Paul telling him all about Andy and his work for the school. (Jane Barlow/PA).