Firstly, I must start by saying how privileged I consider that I have been to have had the opportunity to have known Leslie, to have done jobs in the Church with him, and to have been able to work with him in visiting people in the parish. At all times I was aware of, and benefited from, his quiet knowledge and care of others, where his often lifelong links with individuals, families and the Church were freely shared with myself - "an incomer".
The Reverend Margaret Garden, our now retired minister, spoke for many I believe when she said "Leslie has been so much part of this community and all our lives that he will be sorely missed by all. Leslie had lived all his life within a radius of 3 ½ miles. Many people have said that Leslie was Cushnie. A member of the family pointed out that it is fitting that Leslie has made his journey from Seatonmuir to the church here today. If we were to count how many times Leslie has walked up the brae from Seatonmuir to either the church or the hall or both over his lifetime, could it not be over a thousand?"
In the 11 years I have known Leslie I have recognised his dedication to others on many occasions and where he did another walk up to the church or hall to prepare for a service or function freely in his service to the Church and community.
5 years ago Leslie introduced my then 8-year-old son to the ringing of the Cushnie Church bell on a Sunday morning. Alexander was given the job of "helping Leslie with the bell". Leslie’s warmth and interest has been shown so much over the years from the youngest to the oldest in equal measure, and so many have grown up looking on him as a friend.
I recall Leslie telling me that when he took on the duties at Cushnie Church he had done so for the summer only "to help out". That he undertook and committed his time and effort for over 48 years speaks volumes for his dedication and kindness with his time so willingly given, and always that quiet humility with a smile.
Leslie told me about his first job on leaving school as "boot boy" at Cushnie House, home then to the King Family of newspaper fame, and of his getting lost and coming down the front rather than back stairs as instructed. As Leslie spoke to me about this he could still recall with amazement the fact that there was more than 1 staircase as at Seatonmuir a ladder to the attic was his lot.
His humble home might not have had a staircase but it did literally have an open door, with a kettle ever ready to be switched on for a tea or coffee, and whilst brewing the opportunity to have a look around the garden and be shown the latest plant arrivals to the garden.
Leslie, a real and true friend to so many, you will be sadly missed but remembered with affection by those who had the honour of knowing you.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rain fall gently on your fields.
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you
in the hollow of His hand.
Leslie Burnett receiving his long service award.
Leslie's funeral was held at Cushnie Parish church on Monday the 31st of August.
The church was full.
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