MEMO­RIAL Emo­tional day for Rev Brian

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

The min­is­ter at Cam­bus­lang Bap­tist Church has spo­ken of his pride after tak­ing the Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony at the town’s war memo­rial for the fi­nal time.

Rev Brian Gra­ham (63), whose own fa­ther es­caped a PoW camp in World War Two, has been in­volved in the ser­vice since he ar­rived in Cam­bus­lang in 1998.

He and Dr Rev Leslie Mil­ton al­ter­nate in tak­ing charge of the cer­e­mony each year, and with Brian set to re­tire in the sum­mer of 2016, this year was his fi­nal time tak­ing the ser­vice.

After per­form­ing his du­ties for the last time, Brian ad­mit­ted to the Re­former it had been an even more emo­tional day for him than usual.

He said: “The ser­vice went very well, it was very well at­tended again by the pub­lic and also the or­gan­i­sa­tions like the Girls Guides, Scouts and BB.

“When I ar­rived here in 1998 there was a rota with the lo­cal churches and I went on to that. I don’t know ex­actly when I done my first ser­vice but I’ve at­tended ev­ery one since then. Back then you did it ev­ery three or four years but be­cause of church merg­ers and other churches be­ing un­able to get in­volved, it has been be­tween my­self and Leslie Mil­ton.

“Next year is Leslie’s turn so this year is my last.

“Any mem­ber of the pub­lic can at­tend a ser­vice, but to be one of the few peo­ple who get the op­por­tu­nity to lead that ser­vice, to be able to call peo­ple to re­mem­brance and re­mind them what we are hon­our­ing, to tell them the sto­ries of brav­ery and sacrifice and courage of the men who gave their lives - that’s an im­mense priv­i­lege.

“To of­fi­ci­ate and say to peo­ple that is why we are here is one of the high­lights of be­ing a min­is­ter.

“I love do­ing it and I will miss it greatly.”

Since mov­ing to Cam­bus­lang 16 years ago from Glen­rothes, Brian, reck­ons he has led at around eight ser­vices at the memo­rial.

And in that time he’s seen a few changes but also some things that have stayed the same: “In the early years there used to be a pipe band, I be­lieve they were an ex-po­lice band.

“They would march up to the memo­rial and it was al­ways such a stir­ring site. They were all dressed in their kilts, it was great.

“We also had a bu­gler who would play the last post, and that was al­ways an emo­tional mo­ment. We don’t have that any­more, we have a piper who plays the Flow­ers of the For­est. The bu­gler was some­thing spe­cial.

“At the wreath lay­ing cer­e­mony on Sun­day - and maybe I just no­ticed this be­cause it was my last time - there was this fel­low, he must have been in his 80’s, an old sol­dier.

“When it was his turn to lay a wreath he walked up with his stick and he looked a bit in­firm but when he was in front of the memo­rial he stood bolt up­right to at­ten­tion and saluted.

“That’s what it’s all about, old sol­diers pay­ing trib­ute to their friends. That was a very emo­tional mo­ment.”

Brian, who is the bap­tist church’s long­est serv­ing min­is­ter, has his own links to the Sec­ond World War through his dad who served in the Scot’s Guards.

He was cap­tured by the Ger­man’s and taken to a PoW camp in Poland but later es­caped.

How­ever, Brian ad­mits he doesn’t know much else about what hap­pened: “We only found this out after he died.

“He made his way over land and sea and got home. My grand­mother had a let­ter from the Army say­ing she should pre­sume he’s been killed so I can only imag­ine her face the day he walked up the gar­den path.

“The folk in his street gave him an in­scribed watch which he wore till the day he died.

“I have no idea (where or when he was cap­tured). We never got the de­tails and he never talked about it.”

Emo­tional Rev Brian Gra­ham, pic­tured with wife Ann Marie, took the ser­vice at Cam­bus­lang War Memo­rial for a fi­nal time

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