Respected priest, keen walker, teacher and author

Born: August 5,1932;

Died: July 6 2019 aged 86.

IAN George Davidson - ordained Anglican priest, youth chaplain, counsellor, healer, writer and mountaineer - was born and bred in North London. He attended Manorside Primary then Christ's College a grammar school in East Finchley. From 1950-53 he studied at the London School of Economics where he gained a BSc in Economics.

He had an active extra curricular life and played in the Rugby 2nd team. His main passion however was climbing. He would go on regular expeditions with the Mountaineering Club and played a key role in rescue missions. A decade later he led a challenging trek in the Rockie Mountains in Canada. In his latter years he much enjoyed hill walking which was his concession to the ageing process.

Throughout his school years he was active in the Boy Scout movement. There he discovered the joys of working within groups and undertaking the challenges thrown up by outdoor activities.. A stalwart, he achieved the highest award of King's Scout.

Ian's national service in the Royal Navy was cut short due to ill caused by pleurisy. Thereafter he became a Geography teacher. However the calling to church ministry was too strong to resist. He left teaching and between 1955 to 1958 studied at Lincoln Theological College.

He was soon able to reconnect with young people. Between 1964 to 1967 whilst Honorary Priest Vicar of Southwark Cathedral in South London he served asYouth Chaplain for the surrounding Diocese. During this time he also studied Clinical Theology under Dr Frank Lake a leading pioneer in pastoral counseling.

It was in 1965 that he met Gill. It was love at first sight. Six weeks after their first meeting Ian proposed though they waited until after Gill had finished her training a midwife 11 months later before they married.

The couple were keen to have a family. Gill fell pregnant with twins but tragedy hit them as one baby was stillborn and the other died within the next hour. Ian was however able to administer the sacrament of Baptism. In one of life's cruel ironies Gill, the deliverer of many babies, never conceived again . But it was not long after the birth of the twins that she and Ian adopted Malcolm and then Fiona, then babies themselves.

From 1967 to 1972 Ian served as Vicar of Great as well as of Little Cornard in Suffolk. Thereafter until 1979 he was Student Counsellor at Ipswich Civic College.

In 1979 until 1983 he was Rector of Witnesham with Swilland and Ashbocking in Suffolk. Making good use of the spaciousness afforded by the Witnesham Rectory Gill and Ian ran a Christian community called the Water of Life Fellowship

From 1983 to 1988 Ian was warden of Scargill House - a conference and holiday centre run by a Christian community near Skipton in North Yorkshire. As a forerunner of what is now called relationship counselling he ran the Marriage Review scheme for Christian couples offering courses and counselling.

Ian's time with Dr Lake had introduced him to Gestalt therapy and whilst at Scargill House he wrote his book An approach to Christian Healing through Gestalt subsequently published in 1991. During the 90s Ian achieved advanced accreditation with the Association of Christian Counsellors.

In 1988 Ian and Gill moved to Edinburgh to become Chaplain of the Christian Fellowship of Healing, which was originally based at Holy Corner, Morningside. He left that post in 1997 on his retirement at the age of 65..

The Fellowship offered regular meetings for prayer, bible study and worship as well as individual counselling. Ian had a reputation for being a good leader stretching people to take on responsibility both within the Fellowship and in their own lives and relationships. He developed a strand called Christian Listening through courses and group activities with particular emphasis on Gestalt therapy. Another strand was Community Building originally fostered by the Foundation of Intentional Community. Ian became its contact in Edinburgh bringing people together in groups aimed at helping participants overcome their individual differences.

Ian felt he was being used by Christ as a channel for healing. In the weekly healing service one member with ME, for example, recounts how the laying on of hands helped lessen her condition at least for periods of time. And when a non Christian professional circus performer dropped in, after she had had accident which she feared would affect her livelihood, after a period of prayer with Ian she felt pain free.

Ecumenical and multi-disciplinary in outlook, after his retirement until 2000 he was Assistant Warden at Carberry Tower Musselburgh at the time it was owned by the Church of Scotland and used as a conference centre. And from 2000 to 2002 he was Pastoral Chaplain to Church of Scotland clergy within Edinburgh. However memory problems forced him into a second retirement and by 2002 he was diagnosed with dementia.

The type of dementia Ian was affected by was an uncommon one called Frontal Temporal Dementia. The family hope some good may come of this through the donation of his brain to medical research.

Ian is survived by his wife Gill, brother Keith, son Malcolm, daughter Fiona, grandchildren Ashley, Maya, Liam, and Suma.

Brother Colin was killed in a car crash in 1975.