Town’s tributes to popular minister

Rev John Allan at his ordination to Burntisland's Erskine United Free Church in 1976
Rev John Allan at his ordination to Burntisland's Erskine United Free Church in 1976

Former Burntisland minister Rev John Allan died at the weekend aged 79.

Mr Allan died at the home of his daughter Jane in Durham where he and his wife Sandra had gone for a visit 12 weeks ago.

He took ill while there and passed away in hospital without making it home to his beloved Burntisland, where he and Sandra chose to stay on after he retired.

Mr Allan served as minster of the Erskine United Free Church in Burntisland for 27 years, after taking on the charge in September 1976. He was also moderator of the United Free Church in 1998.

Born in Greenock in 1938, he was a missionary with the United Free Church of Scotland Shetland from 1967-1971, followed by Gordon (Berwickshire, Scottish Borders) from 1971-1976. He graduated with a BD degree from New College, Edinburgh in 1975.

He and Sandra, a teacher at the primary school, have three children, Iain, Jane and Craig.

News of his death was met with sadness in the town, where he was remembered as a kind and quiet man who did a lot of good for people without others knowing.

Rev Alexander Ritchie, who took over from Mr Allan said: “I only got to know John after he retired but as he only moved two doors away he was a close neighbour. He was an extremely kind man and would always go out of his way to help others.”

Walter Anderson was also a neighbour and member of the Erskine congregation for the duration of Mr Allan’s charge, serving alongside him as session clerk and an elder. They became good friends and Walter said he will be sadly missed.

“He did a huge amount for Burntisland and during his time all four of the churches in the town worked closely together, as they still do.

“He was a very open man and if someone was in trouble they could always turn to John to help.

“If people were having money problems or didn’t have a roof over their head he would open up the manse to them. He did all this without many people knowing and he was a genuinely kind man.”

Walter’s daughter Julie, head teacher of Burntisland Primary, said: “ Mr Allan supported us all through all the ups and downs of life, christened my daughter and did a huge amount of quiet work supporting folks in need.

“He was humble, kind, warm, sincere, supportive, clever and with a wee glint in his eye, he had a great sense of humour too – he knew just what to say at the right times.”