A PACKED church heard former Lord Provost George Grubb described as a thinker, an innovator and a man ahead of his time as family, friends and colleagues gathered to say their final farewells.
The former First Citizen, Liberal Democrat councillor and Church of Scotland minister died peacefully in his sleep on June 10, aged 82.
He had chosen the readings for his funeral yesterday at Queensferry Parish Church before burial at Queensferry cemetery. And he left a message which was reprinted on the orders of service: “My dearest love to you all. Please don’t mourn – the best funerals are full of pleasant memories of the deceased – so have a party. George.”
Lord Provost Frank Ross and past and present councillors were among those who attended.
The scripture passages were read by the Rev Ann Inglis, who served as his assistant minister at Craigsbank Parish Church, Corstorphine.
The Rev John Munro, former minister at Fairmilehead, said Dr Grubb was known to many as a faithful and wise local councillor, but prior to that he had spent 40 years in the ministry, first as a Methodist and an RAF chaplain and then, after moving to the Church of Scotland, as minister of Craigsbank Parish Church, Corstorphine for 30 years.
Mr Munro said he had been liberal in his theology as well as his politics and was viewed by some in the church as a “troublemaker”, not least for his eventually successful campaign for a fairer pay structure for ministers.
Bailie Robert Aldridge recalled how Dr Grubb had not expected to be elected when he stood for the council in 1999 and won Queensferry and Kirkliston ward by 300 votes.
But he said he was “passionate about the area he represented” and was recognised for his “energy, compassion and sense of service”.
Bailie Aldridge said after becoming Lord Provost in 2007, despite being in his seventies, he had taken part in the traditional Queensferry New Year’s Day Loony Dook and he and his wife Liz had abseiled off the Forth Bridge.
“He had really strong political views, but in the chamber he was always courteous and his arguments were always political, not personal.” He was also “always great company”.
As Lord Provost he had met the Pope and the King of Jordan, as well helping to bring the giant pandas to Edinburgh.
And as a former athlete – he won the Scottish Schools and Scottish junior titles in the half mile – he had also taken particular pleasure in welcoming the Olympic torch to the city at Edinburgh Castle ahead of the London Games 2012.
The Rev David Cameron, who conducted the service, said Dr Grubb still held the schools half-mile record and thanks to metrication probably always would.
He said Dr Grubb – “a man of faith and a man ahead of his time” – had made his last public contribution just the day before he died when he gave a vote of thanks at a coffee morning for Queensferry Churches Care in the Community, an organisation he helped to establish and which had latterly helped him.