IT’s a collaboration that has lasted longer than many pop careers.
The Evening News can reveal rock star Rod Stewart has returned to the Capital to meet up again with the minister who carried out his wedding to Penny Lancaster and baptised their first son.
This time Rev Ian Gilmour was baptising the couple’s second son, Aiden, in a tartan-clad city centre service that was kept a secret from parishioners until the last minute.
Rev Gilmour has known the family since 2006, when they decided to build on Stewart’s links with Leith – his father Bob was born there – and have Alastair, now six, baptised at South Leith Parish Church.
Since then, Rev Gilmour has travelled to Portofino in Italy to officiate at the couple’s wedding, which was held on a luxury yacht.
On Sunday he baptised their second son, Aiden, who was born in February.
Since Alastair’s baptism, however, Rev Gilmour has moved from Leith to serve at St Andrew’s and St George’s West in George Street, so the stars decided to follow him there.
The minister said: “They’d approached me during the summer to ask if it was possible, and I said that I was no longer in Leith. The original connection was with Leith, because Rod’s father had been brought up within Leith so I wondered if they would want to return to South Leith Parish Church, where Alastair, their older son, was baptised, but they said that because I’d undertaken their wedding in Italy and the baptism of their older son, they decided that they’d like to follow me to St Andrew’s and St George’s.”
The ceremony was attended by family friend, former Scotland international Gordon Strachan, along with friends and family, including Ms Lancaster’s brother Oliver and his wife and children.
Stewart and Alastair both sported Royal Stewart tartan trews for the service, while Ms Lancaster wore a tartan throw and orange shrug.
Rev Gilmour said he had kept the service under wraps from the regular congregation until the big day itself.
He said: “It was a complete surprise. People were very pleased to be part of it. It’s always good to have a child being baptised at church, and of course Christmas is a special time when we’re thinking about children anyway. It was an unusual service in that we had a piper piping them into the church and was unusual in that we’ve got a Christmas tree festival on at the moment, so we’ve got 30 Christmas trees in the each of the churches.”
Rev Gilmour said he had used the theme of John the Baptist guiding the feet of his followers towards Jesus during the service, and joked: “Aiden was kicking his feet at the baptism, so I was able to use that to good effect.”
After the service, the party went to the Balmoral Hotel for a meal.
Rev Gilmour said: “It was very nice. Rod and the godfather, Oliver Lancaster, said some words and everybody had a glass of wine.”