Another Spring Cleaning Surprise

The first surprise was the Liberton Northfield Parish Church 1869 – 1969, Service of Thanksgiving in the March newsletter, well it’s not that I’m busy cleaning all the time but hiding at the bottom of my bedroom unit drawer for almost exactly 46 years was my copy of the Liberton Northfield Church Youth Fellowship Summer Syllabus, May to September 1969. The Youth Fellowship was a church organisation of teenagers (minimum age was 15) and young adults, I think the maximum age was mid-twenties. The catchment was mainly boys and girls from the Guides, Girls Guildry and Boys Brigade plus their friends. There was a President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary, along with a four-person committee.

In the syllabus the first Sunday of the month was always a visit to Southfield Hospital where we would sing a few old favourite hymns for the patients in 3 or 4 wards. Hikes in the Pentland Hills were always popular; the 25th May was a day hike from West Linton to Balerno. The 6th September was a midnight hike; two volunteers would setup a base camp comprising two tents if you were lucky and the hikers would set off around 10.30pm and navigate to the campsite by torch, map and stars. If the weather was good, you’d sleep out under the stars, looking forward to a hearty fried breakfast – great fun.
Day trips in the syllabus included:

8th June: Visit to Stirling Castle

22nd June: Day at the seaside – Silverknowes

29th June: Ten-pin Bowling at the Alma Bowl in Kirkcaldy – a train journey. This was the nearest ten-pin bowling hall to Edinburgh in 1969!!

13th July: Visit to a Fire Station (Lauriston Place) – the Vice-President was a Fireman.

26/27th July was a week-end away to Gean House, Alloa. Gean House was owned by the Scottish Temperance Alliance and used as a conference and study centre.

It must have been easy to get tickets for the Tattoo as we were there on Saturday 23rd August.

Quizzes, social nights with other Youth Fellowships, sausage sizzles and film nights were also popular events in the syllabus. We had a ‘night-in’ when Apollo 11 was about to land on the Moon, much more exciting.

Here’s a photo of some members circa 1968 in our church hall located in Walter Scott Avenue, now St. Gregory’s RC Church.  There is one member of our congregation today in this photo.

Church Group 1968

The Youth Fellowship spawned lots of romances as it was a great meeting place, I can think of at least six marriages including Marion and I – it’s got a lot to answer for!

Ian Messer