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The parish of Fort William Kilmallie linked with Kilmonivaig recently welcomed a new minister who has family ties to the area going back well over a century.
Former Army Chaplain Reverend Rory MacLeod and his wife Carolyn took up residence in Kilmallie manse in early April and he has already conducted several services across the area.
Rory has served in many areas of conflict across the globe as Padre to various regiments, tending to their needs in diverse locations including Belize, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
He is still a member of the Army Reserves, from which he will be retiring later this year.
Coming from a long line of Church of Scotland ministers on both sides of his family, Rory has far reaching family ties with Fort William dating back to around 1790 and Donald MacLeod who was head master of Garrison School.
Donald’s son John, born in Fort William, was also head master at the Garrison School before being ordained and going to the Parish of Ballachulish then to Laggan, where he died.
To further cement his links to the area, his grandfather’s brother, Rev William MacLeod, is buried in Kilmallie Cemetery. He was a minister in Edinburgh from where, due to illness, he had been granted a six month break to recover. It was at this time, when a guest at the house of the Everard Jones family in Fassfern where he had previously been a tutor, that he died in July 1907.
His burial service was conducted in Kilmallie Church by three ministers who were his friends and following this an eagle lectern was commissioned in his memory, which has remained in the church since then.
Rory said: ‘I knew of the lectern, but until I took up this post, had never seen it.
‘It is wonderful to find such a close family connection in the church and to read the inscription on just how highly regarded he was.
‘My wife and I have had a great welcome from everyone in the area and I look forward to meeting even more people across the parish as Covid regulations are relaxed.’
A keen piper, Rory is also hoping to become involved in various local organisations, while on the sporting front he is an active tennis and badminton player and hopes to continue these.