A North Berwick minister has written the story of his life while there is a new chairman for the famous Ferry Fair.
Reverend David W Torrance, 90, has detailed how he struggled for years to resist the call to the ministry in his book The Reluctant Minister.
It tells the story of his birth in China as the youngest of six, born to devoutly Christian missionary parents.
When they returned to Scotland, he received a scholarship to the Royal High School. After his studies at Edinburgh University, he joined the British Army in 1942. He contracted smallpox in India and all his property, including his bed, had to be burned. Mr Torrance helped a humanist who had contacted him to become a Christian, giving him his own Bible. Released from the army in 1946, Mr Torrance returned to Scotland.
He said: “My time in the army was spiritually a turning point. Nonetheless, when I heard God calling me to the ministry, for years I resisted. I was afraid of being mocked. I did not want to preach in the open air yet always when I heard God calling me I felt he was calling me to preach in the open and to be an evangelist.”
After graduating with an MA degree, he entered New College in 1950 to study for his Bachelor of Divinity degree. Student attachments followed with churches in Edinburgh and Haddington.
Mr Torrance added: “Whereas I had been reluctant to become a minister, I found the work so fulfilling I was reluctant to retire.
“I believe there is no greater calling more satisfying and fulfilling than that of the Christian ministry.”
David Steel to chair festival
The 2015 Ferry Fair Festival this Saturday will see David Steel in the role as chairman after many years of involvement with the event.
David succeeds the late Graham Holmes, who twice held the role of chairman over a period of 22 years.
More accustomed to being Master of Ceremonies on Fair Day, David will this year take a back seat on the big day.
The former Ferry Fair secretary said: “I am looking forward to the role although the circumstances are not what I would have wished.
“But we have a dedicated committee and a team of Fair stalwarts who are more than capable of ensuring that the week goes without a hitch.”
On the departure from his role as MC, he jokingly added: “The citizens of Queensferry will no longer have to listen to me as we now have the services of local lad Andy Malarky, who is much more professional.”
On this year’s festival, the chairman said: “Everything is in place and we hope the community will come out in force throughout the week to support all the events.
“While we can guarantee the Ferry Fair will go ahead the only thing we cannot plan is the weather.”