Gorebridge’s John Ballantyne - an obituary.

John Ballantyne, who had a lifetime connection with Gorebridge, died suddenly at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, on November 19.

A husband of Ruby; dad to Fred and Robert; grandad to Freya, Gerda and Anna; great-grandad to Kai and Aithne; father-in-law to Christine and Evelyn; and brother to Minnie, he was aged 88.

Born on March 25, 1924, John spent his early years living in a room and bedroom just off the Main Street above the local billiard room.

When he left school his dad got him an apprenticeship with a local joiner, giving him skills that were selflessly put at the disposal of friends over the years.

During the war he was called up into the Royal Engineers. He took part in the Normandy landings on D-Day and was in Germany, Belgium and Holland, ending up as a Company Quartermaster Sergeant.

When he came home to Scotland John went into the Civil Service in HM Customs and Excise, his work taking him to London for periods of time. He studied for a degree in Economics by correspondence but did not have the time to see it through.

Throughout his life John was a keen antiquarian, full of local knowledge about Gorebridge and Borthwick, and never happier than in his involvement with Gorebridge Historical Society or in his participation in the work of the community council through the Gorebridge and District Environmental Group and the Gorebridge Development Trust. He was a keen hillwalker.

John met Ruby on the bus that brought them home from work to Birkenside and Middleton.

John became an elder at Borthwick Parish Church in 1964 and later had a prominent role in Presbytery as a member and committee convener. He received General Assembly recognition for having served for 40 years as Borthwick treasurer.

He was central to the restoration programme of the South Aisle, which became a focus of congregational effort for 20 years.