Tribute has been paid to well respected former East Neuk minister and Fife councillor Rev Peter Douglas, who died late last year aged 89.
Retired Fife councillor Andrew Arbuckle said that with the passing of Rev Douglas in October, St Andrews and the East Neuk of Fife not only lost a well-respected and much loved citizen but also a supporter and enthusiast for many community based groups.
Peter came to the East Neuk of Fife almost 60 years ago to minister to the needs of the parishioners of Boarhills and Dunino.
But his benign influence soon spread wider afield and he took a leading role in many organisations.
Apart from his many responsibilities as a minister in a rural parish, he chaired the local community council and served on both the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Children’s Panel.
He also chaired the prestigious St Andrews Burns Club and despite not being a golfer served on the St Andrews Links Trust.
He was also elected to Fife Council as a councillor for the East Neuk.
As a Minister, he was a man with many interests and enthusiasms with gardening and bee keeping helping form bridges with his parishioners and with the wider public.
“Few whom he talked to came away without feeling enriched by the experience and even fewer without being amused by his vast collection of humorous stories,” recalled Mr Arbuckle.
“Many whom he met, were given a pot of honey from his bee hives.
“As was stated at his funeral, ‘He lived every joy and every sorrow of his parishioners’.
“When he became a councillor on Fife Council, he assiduously looked after his patch.
“A colleague recalled how easy it was to canvass support for Peter as it seemed he had baptised or married whoever answered the door and if that was not the case, then possibly because he had conducted the burial service of an elderly relative!”
His parishioners also recognised him by his trademark kilt which he wore constantly from his early days after finding it was very economical apparel for an impecunious student.
He had an itinerant childhood but he learned to fly aged only 17.
This skill saw him enlist in the RAF where he helped evacuate wounded out of the Korean War zone.
This conflict had a long term effect on Peter as it brought him in touch with an American padre who Peter admitted later, “He got me thinking there was something in this God thing.”
And so, when he came out of the air force, he enrolled with Glasgow University Divinity College.
While studying he met and married Kitty and over the following years, their union provided four children, Angela and her twin Tony, Kenny and Richard.
During his training as a Minister, Peter worked in one of the big shipyards which he said, with a smile, helped improve his vocabulary.
In 1993, after the youngsters had grown up and left the family home, Peter met and married Kate.
She continued to support Peter to his dying day even if this included looking after the more than 600 ornamental pigs which Peter had collected.
Explaining this particular enthusiasm, he once said, ‘because I liked them.’ Peter was never half-hearted about any project.
Later in his East Neuk parish, his sermons were all individually crafted and relevant to everyday life.
But his ministry was not confined to his own religion.
After marrying an atheist couple, he declared it was sufficient for him if they loved each other.
“The local community is the poorer for his passing,” added Mr Arbuckle.
Peter’s family have said he will be missed.
But they gain comfort from knowing that he is at peace in his beloved Dunino.