Rev William Still, born May 8, 1911, died July 30, 1997

The son of an Aberdeen fish merchant, the Rev william Still was the longest serving minister in the Church of Scotland when he retired from his charge at Gilcomston South Church earlier this year on his 87th birthday.

A leading evangelical minister in 1970 he was a founder member of the Crieff Brotherhood, a group of ministers who campaigned for the retention of traditional values and beliefs within the Kirk and who became known as the ''Stillites.''

Mr Still was born into a Salvation Army family and was self-educated from the age of 13 when illness forced him to leave school.

As a teenager he followed his father into the family business but lasted only a few months claiming he couldn't stand the smell of fish.

After a period as a piano teacher and then as an organist at a Methodist Church he planned to become an officer in the Salvation Army but once again ill health struck and he was forced to leave the Salvation Army training College in London.

When they refused to admit him a second time he decided instead, at the age of 29, to train for the ministry at Christ's College in Aberdeen which he was able to attend while remaining at home. During a spell as an assistant at Springburn Hill Church in Glasgow he was badly injured when he fell between the platform and a train at a station in the city.

It was while convalescing he underwent what he described as a ''second conversion'' and was ''all aflame with the Gospel in a new way.''

He said he was a ''fire and brimstone preacher in his early days'' and it caused

him a lot of upset but he did gain a reputation for filling the pews and in 1945 he was invited to become the minister at Gilcomston South Church.

When he arrived it was run down and the Presbytery had twice tried to close it down, but within months the church was so packed he was inviting people to sit a little closer together and share a hymn book.

It has grown to be a major force for evangelism in the Kirk.

Mr Still was no stranger to controversy and the declining standard of dress of young people attending church wearing ''drab rags and bags'' was one of the subjects on which he voiced his opinion.

He also attacked TV soap opera EastEnders for portraying religion inaccurately.

In spite of poor health he insisted on preaching twice every Sunday until his retirement in May. In his retirement speech he described falling church attendance and subsequent church closures as ''scandalous''.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the Rt Rev Sandy McDonald said: ''The death of William Still marks the end of a very distinguished and dedicated ministry in the Church of Scotland.

''A great bible teacher and a much loved father in the faith to countless ministers over the last 53 years, I believe he will be remembered as a good and faithful servant of Christ and the Church.''

Mr Still remained unmarried and is survived by his sisters Barbara and Rene and youngest brother David.