Popular clergyman who loved Lakeland’s mountains

Date: Monday 22nd January 2018

CANON Gordon Scott, formerly of St. John’s Church, Keswick, and vicar in several Eden parishes, has died, aged 87.

He was born at Stockton-on-Tees to Thomas and Mary Scott, and he has a brother, Jim, who lives near Farnham.

After leaving school, Gordon trained at St. John’s College, Durham, and was ordained deacon in Durham Cathedral in 1953. He had two curacies, St. Andrew’s, Sunderland, and then St. Cuthbert’s, Marley Hill, from 1959.

He met his wife, Sheila, during a week’s holiday in Portinscale, near Keswick. They found they had a lot in common, as they were both from the North East, and enjoyed walking and climbing.

Canon Scott admitted he was a “shy young man”, but the couple’s friends played cupid and engineered a meeting when they returned to the North East.

They were married in 1962, and family say that throughout their life together Mrs. Scott was her husband’s “tower of strength” and looked after him “wonderfully”.

The couple moved to London, where Canon Scott served as chaplain at Forest School. In 1966, they moved to the far north west of Scotland to Dunrobin School, Sutherland, where he was chaplain and also taught French and PE. He led school expeditions into the Highlands and supported local clergy and their churches.

It was in this time that the couple had their children: Michael, who lives near Carmarthen, South Wales; David, of Romford; and Andrew, of Llanberis, North Wales.

Canon Scott served a further chaplaincy at Pocklington School, Yorkshire, before returning to parish ministry in the Carlisle diocese. He thoroughly enjoyed being a parish priest at Barton and Pooley Bridge from 1974 to 1980, at Lazonby and Great Salkeld from 1980 to 1990, and then at Patterdale and Glenridding from 1990 to 1994. He was also rural dean of Penrith for a time.

In all the parishes, Canon Scott visited every home as he took the parish newsletter door-to-door, often making time for a talk, a prayer and a cup of tea. In Patterdale and Glenridding, this meant some long walks into the valleys and hills to outlying farms, a delight he shared with his faithful companion, a golden retriever.

Along with a group of local residents, he introduced the tradition of beating the parish bounds at Patterdale, now a popular event which covers challenging 30 miles and 10,000ft of ascent.

Canon Scott retired early to Keswick through ill health and joined the congregation at St. John’s Church, initially helping with midweek communion services. In these latter years, he had to be content with ever shorter walks, though still gazing up to the mountains he loved.

Mrs. Scott’s sudden death four years ago was a shock to Canon Scott and their family. However, he showed great determination to remain living at home with the support of carers, who his family said were “wonderful”.

He continued to attend St. John’s whenever he could, which was said to be a highlight of his week.

His family said: “We miss him very much and are so thankful for the ways in which his faith, kindness and gentleness and his love for nature and the mountains have touched and enhanced our lives. Now he is in his heavenly Father’s embrace.”