Rev George Grubb: ‘A life well lived in service and in love’

Lord Provost Dr George Grubb
Lord Provost Dr George Grubb
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REV Dr George Grubb, former parish minister and Lord Provost of Edinburgh, died in the evening of Saturday 9 June at the age of 83. He was parish minister at Craigsbank Church in Corstorphine, Edinburgh from 1971-2001.

His early life was spent in Blackhall and Marchmont with his parents and older brother Douglas.

The war years dominated his childhood. His first school was James Gillespie’s Primary School and later he attended the Royal High School. He maintained an interest in the Royal High all his life and was due to attend the annual prizegiving in just a couple of weeks. At school he played rugby but his sporting successes came in running, winning the Scottish Schools and Scottish junior titles in the half mile.

He was involved in Sunday School and Youth Fellowship in Marchmont and in his teenage years first felt a call to ministry. He saw the Convener of the Church of Scotland’s training for the ministry committee and was advised that he needed to increase his academic qualifications – and that he should do that after National Service.

That took him first to training in Aldershot, Deepcut Camp and then Kineton, where he served as a munitions clerk. It was during National Service that he was introduced to Methodism. He began study at Wesley College in Leeds and service as a Methodist minister was in the Wakefield Circuit. George often said he had not chosen Methodism but rather that Methodism had chosen him.

The services called and George served as an RAF padre in Germany and Cyprus. When what George called “the exile years” were over, he returned to Scotland and entered the ministry of the Church of Scotland. He served as assistant minister in Craigsbank Church for a year and then in 1971 was called to be minister. He retired from there in 2001.

George was an innovator, a man of ideas. He started a group where residents from nearby Gogarburn Hospital came for fellowship and fun. He also began a group for recovering victims of strokes. Craigsbank also had one of the early mothers and toddlers groups. As years went by George became interested in politics and was “converted” to the Liberal Democrats by Paddy Ashdown. He stood for election as a councillor and won. In 2007, he was elected Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh and served with distinction in that role. He found meeting people a joy but each month he approached the council meeting with some trepidation.

Family life was always central to George. He and Elizabeth had been married for nearly 58 years. Their son Rhoderick gave them two grandchildren and daughter Mhairi gave them four. He will be missed by so many people but we can give thanks for a life well lived in service and in love.

Rev Ann Inglis