Obituary: Rev George Dymock Goldie, Minister in the Church of Scotland and chaplain to the Scouts in Scotland

Reverend George Dymock Goldie has died at the age of 92
Reverend George Dymock Goldie has died at the age of 92
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The Rev George Dymock Goldie, minister of the Church of Scotland and chaplain to Scouts in Scotland. Born: 17 June, 1926. Died: 9 October, 2018, aged 92

In 2013 George celebrated 60 years as an ordained minister in the Church of Scotland. On that occasion he preached at Mannofield Parish Church in Aberdeen at the invitation of the Rev Keith Blackwood. His advancing years did not diminish his ability to preach with clarity of speech, word and thought.

He was born on 17 June, 1926 in a nursing home in Haymarket, in the west end of Edinburgh, the first child of George Nicol Goldie and Marjory Moinet Goldie. He was joined four years later by his sister Patricia, who died earlier this year.

Their father was an oil trader based in Nigeria. His parents and maternal grandparents jointly owned the family home in Corstorphine, allowing George and his sister stability in their childhood. When their parents were abroad they were nurtured by their grandparents, who were responsible in part for George’s entry to the ministry. His grandfather was session clerk of London Road Parish Church in Edinburgh.

His grandmother, who had been orphaned and brought up by a Presbyterian minister in Manchester, founded the London Road Parish Church Sisterhood that in its heyday was attended by 200 women. On her death in 1955 George wrote: “To me she has always been the most wonderful person in the world; she practically brought me up when my parents were abroad; it was through her life and love that I came to know Jesus Christ, and because of her influence that I am His servant now.”

George attended George Watson’s College from 1933 to 1944. On leaving school he joined The Royal Scots and was sent to officer training school in Bangalore, India. His final posting was to Malaya, where as a young lieutenant his platoon was responsible for guarding Japanese prisoners of war who were working in a rubber plantation.

When he was demobilised he joined his family who had returned from Nigeria to help run the family hotel – The Traquair Arms in Innerleithen. He enrolled at New College, Edinburgh, on a post-war fast track course. While studying he was student assistant at Lady Glenorchy’s North Church in Edinburgh. It was there that he first met his future wife, Mairi Normand. In December, 1951 he was appointed as assistant minister of Greenside Parish Church that was at the top of Leith Walk. Two years later he was called to Slateford Parish Church. In 1955 the new “Hall Church” of Slateford Longstone was opened, with George carrying the communion elements from the old church to the new. He was accompanied by a congregation of some 400. 1955 was an eventful year, with George and Mairi being married at Lady Glenorchy’s North.

In 1962 George accepted the call to be minister of Greyfriars Aberdeen, where he spent 33 years. On retirement he joined Mannofield Church as a pastoral assistant. Although very much adopted by Aberdeen, he remained throughout his life “an Edinburgh boy at heart”.

George’s great passion in life was his membership of the Scout Association. His father had founded the 1st Paisley Scout Troop in 1907, very shortly after Lord Baden Powell held his first camp on Brownsea Island. George joined the 43rd Corstorphine Cub Pack in 1933. This was the start of an 80-year connection with Scouting. He rose through the movement as a Scout, Scout leader, assistant county commissioner, and deputy area commissioner. He served for several years as Scouts Scotland national chaplain as well as running a cub pack at Kingslea School.

Out of uniform, George was safeguarding awareness co-ordinator for NE Scotland and latterly chair of Aberdeen district appointments committee. His lifelong service “of an exceptional nature” was recognised by the Chief Scout, Bear Grylls, who awarded him the highest honour in Scouting, The Silver Wolf.

Mairi predeceased George by ten years, having enjoyed 53 years of happy marriage in which they raised four children, Susan, Peter, Alan and Ruth. George also leaves behind eight grandchildren who kept him young in his later years.