Obituary: Rev Tom Milroy

Rev Tom Milroy
Rev Tom Milroy
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Tributes have been paid to a minister who set up the first parish church in a fledgling village in West Lothian.

The Rev Tom Milroy, who established Boghall Parish Church in the 1960s, died peacefully at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee on 
July 29.

Born in 1926, Rev Milroy grew up in Fallin near Stirling where his father worked in the mine.

He left school at the age of 14 to take up an apprenticeship as a mining engineer.

During the war, he tried to get into the air force but was turned down as he was working in a reserved occupation.

However, he did go on to serve in the Army Cadets, rising to 2nd Lieutenant.

In 1960 he took up his first charge in Boghall on the outskirts of Bathgate.

The church hall was in the process of being built and the church itself was only finished in 1965.

Rev Milroy had the responsibility of building up the church in the new community of Boghall, organising Sunday schools and setting up community groups.

The 1960s saw a lot of babies born in Boghall, which was home to many young families, and at one particularly busy service Rev Milroy christened 32 infants.

Rev Milroy also set up the Boghall Community Building and was the founder of the Boghall Community Organisation.

His ministry led to him going into the factories and businesses in the area, in particular the BMC factory in Bathgate where he was well-known face on the factory floor.

After ten years, he left to go to the St Rules Church in Monteith in 1970 and once again helped established a range of community grasps and clubs for young people.

He continued to work well into his 70s as a part-time hospital chaplain at Ninewells.

Rev Milroy, often seen in a bowler hat and wing collars in the 60s, was described as seeing himself very much as one of the boys and of breaking away from the image of the parish minister.

He married twice, first to Miggie in 1957, with whom he had three children. He then married Lilian in 1994.

He is survived by his children Ken, Sheila and Calum and granddaughters Katie, Ruth, Sarah, Bethan, Eilidh, Morwen and Sioned.

David Jamieson, who was a contemporary and minister at Panmure, said Rev Milroy’s ministry was “unconventional”, but he was very considerate and good to his congregation.

He said Rev Milroy’s left-wing politics were out of step for the time and he had “an unministerial sense of humour”, but he approached his congregation as a good Christian first and then as a minister.

He added: “He was very caring and gave a lot of unheralded practical care and assistance.”