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Torphichen service well attended

ONE of the main events of the St John Scotland year, the annual Torphichen service, was held on Sunday afternoon.

The Commemoration of the Martyrdom of Saint John The Baptist took place in West Lothian's historic Torphichen Preceptory and was very well attended.

A piper led the Prior's procession from the Torphichen Inn for a photograph at the Victorian Well in the village square. It was erected in 1897 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, and in 1888 she became the Sovereign Head of the Order.

Last year the villagers held a ballot when the Well was to be refurbished, and unanimously voted to decorate the top with the St .John's Cross appropriate to the village and the Preceptory. It was previously adorned with the Royal Victorian Crown.

The procession then continued to the Preceptory, passing a guard of honour of Air Training Corps cadets from 1271 Bathgate Squadron before going into the Preceptory building. 

The service was conducted by the Rev Bill Paterson, CStJ, a member of St John Scotland Priory Chapter, and the preacher was the Dean of St John Scotland, the Very Rev Dr John Cairns, KCVO, LTh, LLB, DD, LLD, CStJ. 

The lessons were read by Cadet Jodie Garfoot of the 1271 Bathgate Squadron, and the Prior of Scotland, Major General Mark Strudwick, and the anthem was sung by the choir of the Parish Church, conducted by organist Joan Proven.

A collection was taken in aid of the St John Eye Hospital Group in Jerusalem, and raised £347.50. This was topped up to £1,500 by the St John Scotland West Lothian Area, and the cheque was presented to the Hospitaller, Dr John Ferguson-Smith.

The service was attended by Angus Hay, a Knight of the Order of Malta, the first time for some years that the organisation had been represented at the service.

After the service the procession halted on the way back to the Torphichen Inn to enable the Prior to inspect the Air Cadets. Afterwards the West Lothian committee hosted tea in the Inn.

Photos by Donald Fullarton.

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