Obituary: Reverend Tom Preston BD, 62

Obit pic - Tom Preston.
Obit pic - Tom Preston.
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Edinburgh minister Reverend Tom Preston BD has died, aged 62.

During his career Rev Preston successively ministered four parish churches, including the Edinburgh Old Kirk.

He was born in Galashiels on September 4, 1948, to parents Tom and Nettie Preston, and was brought up in the church.

He also had two sisters named Gail and Marion, to whom he remained close throughout his life.

While working in London as a civil servant, he rediscovered his faith and this led to his return to Galashiels.

He found fellowship at his own church of St Cuthbert’s, and also in the newly built St John’s church in Langlee.

Once he decided to join the ministry, he went on to complete his Bachelor of Divinity studies at New College in the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, earning his BD title.

Licensed by the Presbytery of Melrose and Peebles in St Cuthbert’s church on July 7, 1976, the text of the sermon was the famous words of the Apostle Paul.

“We are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. We beseech you, on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

Described as a “quiet and patient man”, Reverend Preston was the willing pastor of the large housing estate of Hamilton-Bardrainney and the massive parish of Pilton.

He later took on the demanding task of uniting and establishing a new church plant in the Breich Valley – all an indication of his commitment to the ministry.

Alistair Morrice attended his friend’s funeral, and also wrote his obituary. After the funeral a man told him that it was through Rev Preston’s visiting him in his home, always interested in him and his family, that he himself had found his way to church.

He had many other involvements in community concerns, in national church committees, notably in prison chaplaincy, and he was on the point of taking up the task of Moderator of West Lothian Presbytery, but there was no doubt that his focus was on the day-to-day ministry among his flock.

Mr Morrice said Rev Preston never married but had a “wonderful family”, and was a much-loved brother, uncle, great-uncle and cousin.

A caring man by nature, he spent many years travelling back and forth weekly to care for his mother, who suffered serious ill-health.

Rev Preston passed away on June 30, after a short illness in St John’s Hospital, Livingston. His funeral service was held at the Mortonhall Crematorium on July 5 – the collection for which was donated to the Chest, Heart and Stroke Association.

Mr Morrice paid tribute to Rev Preston and said: “He has left a legacy of warmth and faith exercised in parish ministry that will be long remembered, treasured and appreciated.”