Obituary: Reverend L David Levison, 95

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THE Reverend L David Levison, a former minister in Edinburgh and East Lothian, has died, aged 95.

Leon David Levison was born in Edinburgh on March 26, 1917, the third son of Sir Leon and Lady Kate Levison. He was educated at George Watson’s College, Edinburgh University, Westminster College, Cambridge, and New College Edinburgh.

He began his ministry as assistant at St Cuthbert’s Church in Edinburgh where, in 1942, he married Cecilia, an English honours graduate.

Thereafter he was asked to go to St Johns, the Kirk of Perth, where he was ordained in 1943.

He moved to his first parish of Gorebridge, Midlothian in 1946 – a mining parish with two working mines. The miners equipped him with the necessary helmet, elbow and knee-pads, boots and overalls so he could visit them along the damp, narrow tunnels of the mines.

A popular innovation was the “Penny Pictures” where he introduced Gorebridge youngsters to the delights of Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Cops. He also wrote a regular column for the local press.

In 1954 he was invited to join the secretariat of the Foreign Mission Committee, at 121 George Street. In 1959, wishing to return to parish work, he was appointed to the central parish in the new town of Glenrothes.

After 11 years in Glenrothes, he became convener of the ethical and moral welfare committee of the General Assembly and in 1971 he was inducted to the rural parish of Pencaitland, in East Lothian. He served there until retiring in 1982.

During his time leading the ethical and moral welfare committee he wrote about changing attitudes to marriage. As a result he and Cecilia were asked to represent the British Council of Churches at a world conference in Tanzania, where he spoke on world population before making a presentation to Julius Nyrere, the first president of Tanzania.

On retirement in 1982, they went to London to live with their eldest son to help to bring up four grandchildren whose mother had died suddenly. Returning to Scotland after sharing in the service at his son’s second marriage, he and Cecilia settled in Haddington.

He was invited to act as associate minister in St Mary’s Collegiate Church, where he produced a brochure of the church’s history.

He was appointed chairman of the East Lothian Council of Social Service, out of which sprang the Haddington Day Centre and the East Lothian branch of Cruse Bereavement Care, which he chaired for eight years.

His was a varied and exciting ministry, owing much to the unstinting support of his wife.

The couple had three children, 13 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.