Sandy McDonald - A Memoriam



We are deeply saddened by the loss of David Tennant's father, The Very Rev Dr Sandy McDonald, who passed away last night.
Sandy, who was a former Moderator of the Church Of Scotland, passed aged 78, after a long battle with lung disease at the Erskine Care Home for ex-servicemen in Bishopton.

Born in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, to Jessie Helen Low and Alexander M. McDonald, Sandy worked in the timber industry as a trainee manager from 1952-1958. During that time he took a break for two years when he was called up to do national service with the Royal Air Force. Whilst there his duties included operating the ground radar for the 617 Dambusters. After that  he continued his work in the timber trade from 1958 until 1962 when he responded to God's call and decided to train for the ministry, studying theology at the University of Glasgow and at Trinity College in Dublin. He graduated later with a BA from the Open University, which subsequently granted him a Doctorate, in honour of his work as Moderator of the General Assembly.
Sandy served as an assistant minister at Merrylea Parish Church in Newlands, Glasgow, before being called as minister to St David's in Bathgate, in 1968. As chaplain to the town's British Leyland plant, he spoke out for workers during a period of industrial action.
In 1974 he became minister of St Mark's Oldhall Parish Church, Ralston in Renfrewshire, Paisley, where he helped found a young ministers' fraternal group that still meets today as part of the Presbytery of Paisley. He served as President of the Glasgow and Paisley Battalions of the Boys Brigade. He had a BB badge on every jacket he owned.
One of his passions was for the Church's Summer Mission, which every year took hundreds of young people to the seaside.
As General Secretary of the Church of Scotland's Board of Ministry, from 1988 until his retirement in 2002, he was an advocate for ministers. During his tenure ministers' stipends were raised, benefits were improved and ministers were encouraged to see themselves as uniquely qualified professionals.
A natural media personality, Sandy co-presented STV's religious magazine programme 'That's the Spirit' during the 1980s, and was a guest on other religious shows.

Many fans of David will know of Sandy from his on screen appearances alongside his son on shows such as Ready Steady Cook and Who Do You Think You Are? He also made a guest starring role on The Unicorn And The Wasp, an episode of Doctor Who.

In early 2015 Sandy disclosed he was fighting the degenerative lung disease pulmonary fibrosis. He spoke out for the "right to die," despite the Church's official position against the proposal.
Also that year he appeared on a tribute video at the National Television Awards to praise David as he collected his Special Recognition Award. David subsequently dedicated the award to his father saying he was 'an inspiration and role model'.

Sandy was married to his late wife Helen for over 40 years before her passing in 2007. He leaves behind three children, Karen, Blair and David and nine grandchildren.

If you would would like to leave a donation to Erskine Care Homes, in Sandy's memory,  then you can do so here.

You can add a message of condolence for David and his family on our Facebook fan page here

Many thanks to the The Church Of Scotland.

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