Christine Murison and I attended a funeral just recently. We both so much wanted to attend that we agreed with our colleagues to transfer our planned meeting to the town in which the service was held so that we could head off for the service and straight back into discussions. The man meant a lot to us; our friend Ian Lamont. My involvement with SU Scotland was largely down to him. What was it about him that was so influential? It wasn't that he was an outstanding preacher. Neither was it that I thought of him as trendy youth leader! Above all it was his interest in me as a person.

I became part of a senior pupils group in Edinburgh called Torch, which Ian co-led with Diana Buchan (then Guthrie). It was model leadership. He was genuinely interested in us. No one outside of my family had ever taken me to a restaurant for a meal. I was not used to my views being taken so seriously. When I joined the leadership team of Torch Ian and Diana expected us to make decisions. They were there to guide and help us but we were expected to take a lead - many times they must have felt that things could have been done better and faster if they'd done it themselves! And, above all, the Bible and prayer were central to everything we did. It was at Torch that I first prayed out loud. It was through Ian's undramatic, no frills approach to the Bible that I began to come to the conclusion that God's word would guide me in all my life decisions. Christine and I attended the funeral with around 300 others. The minister who took the service had come up through Ian's Sunday School. Liz Watson, minister on Arran, was another. Christine chatted with someone who said that her children had been in the Sunday School and that Ian was still in touch with them even although they were now in their late 20s. This is patient, persevering, unheralded, Christ-like commitment. Its influence will only be fully revealed in heaven.

Thank God for an SU Scotland volunteer like Ian.

Andy Bathgate

Andy has been CEO of SU Scotland since 2001. When he's not busy with us, you'll find him playing with his grandsons or in an art gallery with his wife.