PUPILS from S1, S5 and S6 burst out from the side door of Clydebank High to the sounds of Scotland the Brave, “ho ho ho” from Santa and applauding teachers.

In the past two years, the school’s Santa Dash has become a fixture to show support for the Beatson and their beloved teacher, Dr Graham Simpson.

But when Graham passed away on December 13 at the age of 57, the dash became a celebration of his life - and the lives his legacy will save.

The chemistry and pastoral care teacher, who received a bone marrow transplant in March 2018, encouraged his pupils to register as potential stem cell donors themselves with the Anthony Nolan Trust.

Now, Graham could be the inspiration that saves more than 100 lives through those youngsters.

Clydebank firefighters, who work with the Trust and campaigned with Graham to sign up donors, visited the school on Thursday to show their support.

Watch commander Iain McCormick said: “Dr Simpson was instrumental in bringing the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s partnership with the Anthony Nolan Trust into the school to encourage those aged 16 and over to join the stem cell register, to offer hope to those with blood cancers and other blood disorders.

“He was a gentleman and it was obvious how highly regarded he was by the students. It was at Clydebank we recruited our 10,000th person to the register.

“It will be part of his great legacy.”

Read more: Clydebank High mourns passing of much-loved Dr Graham Simpson at 57

Rev Gregor McIntyre said it was Graham’s openness about his ups and downs since being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia two years ago that encouraged such a response from pupils.

“He will be well remembered,” said Mr McIntyre. “Much was done in his name, but for others, which is always worth doing for the school community.

“The encouragement to care about others is something that will last for years ahead.”

By the time all pupils raced four and a half times around the school on Thursday, £4,000 had already been raised towards the Beatson Cancer Charity. Graham - himself a keen runner - was treated at the Beatson and just weeks after his condition was first revealed, pupils started raising funds.

In two years, they have now donated a staggering £34,000 - not including even more collected in buckets last week.

Calum McNair, schools and community engagement fundraiser at the Beatson, said: “Thanks to Clydebank High’s support, the charity is able to continue to make a positive difference to the lives of patients and families affected by cancer.

“Clydebank High continues to shine as a fantastic example of community spirit - something which showcases the impact Dr Simpson had on each and every member of staff and pupil in the school.”

Santa belted out “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “So This is Christmas” in front of the school as pupils ran past. He then admitted: “Hope nobody is on the nightshift.”

There were plenty of smiles and laughter from staff and youngsters, but the loss of their friend and mentor is deeply felt and just below the surface.

Graham, known as “The Doc”, worked at Clydebank High since 2001 and affected so many lives, particularly his wife Lorraine, depute head at the school.

Sarah McGrory is a youth minister a volunteers at Clydebank. She lost her own husband, Iain, to cancer in January and had since spoken to pupils and was cheering them on as they ran past.

Iain told Sarah: “You’re never truly gone until the last of the lives you touch are gone.”

“These guys were touched by Dr Simpson and they’re going to remember this Santa Dash when they’re older,” Sarah told the Post.

“His life is living on in their memories.”