Deeside man’s 50 years as a kirk elder

Long-serving elder Rob Watt with daughters Shirley, left, and Hazel
Long-serving elder Rob Watt with daughters Shirley, left, and Hazel

A Deeside man has completed a remarkable 50 years as a church elder.

Rob Watt’s half century of service includes over 20 as session clerk.

More than 40 members of Banchory West Church congregation visited the town’s Hanover Court sheltered housing complex to congratulate him.

And West Church minister the Rev Tony Stephen presented Rob with a framed certificate signed by the Church of Scotland’s Moderator.

Rob joined the church in Strachan in his late teens and became an elder in 1967.

A few months later he was invited by the Rev Frank Dey to become session clerk, a role he filled until 1987.

When the church closed in 2002, Rob and his wife, Bette, transferred to the West Church.

The second youngest of eight children, Rob followed his father into farming, leaving Arbroath High School when he was 14 to start work.

When his family moved to Bogarn Farm in 1946, he used to catch the bus home at weekends, going from Montrose to Aberdeen and then to Strachan on the local bus.

Rob recalls walking to Strachan Church and sitting with his friends in the back pew.

He also recollects being discouraged by the minister, Rev Mulligan, from joining the church on account of his young age.

However, when the Rev Anderson took over as minister, he became a member in the late ‘40s when he was 20.

In 1953, Rob had the opportunity of taking on the nearby farm at Bogendreip, where he lived with his wife and four children, Hazel, Ruby, Shirley and Lindsay.

His daughters live in Aberdeen but son Lindsay died in a tragic accident on a timber harvesting machine.

A widower for several years, Rob is still an elder, although he has recently been unable to attend services.

Rev Stephen said: “Rob has been a fantastic servant to the church, particularly here in Banchory.

“Folk have missed him since he has been unable to take his regular place every Sunday.

“So it was a real treat to take the church to him and to see his cheery face.

“Rob has done so much for us and his service to the church is remarkable.”