It was with a profound sense of sadness and loss that many people in Harris and much further afield learned of the passing of Dr John Hay of Miavaig Uig, Isle of Lewis, on Sunday, the 9th of May. His passing leaves a huge void in the lives of his family, his daughters and grandchildren upon whom he doted, but also the wider community of Uig and Bernera, who mourn with them.
These words are in no way an official tribute, but simply my own very fond recollections of someone who, as a GP, as a Christian, as a preacher and as a friend, had a great impact upon the lives of many people, my own included.
His own family have described him as a legend, and that was undoubtedly true. John’s infectious zest for life, combined with a heart of love for all, endeared him to everyone who knew him. We are thankful for having known this rare soul who lived life to the full and was loved by all as a neighbour, friend and elder statesman of the church and community.
The people of Uig and Bernera knew him primarily as our dearly beloved GP as well as a frequent and very popular lay preacher. Growing up in Bernera in the 70s and 80s, I looked forward immensely to the nights when Dr Hay was taking the evening service in the church in Breaclete. For young and old alike, it was so refreshing to hear a preacher so interesting and easy to listen to, but yet with such profound and practical insight into the scriptures. Over the years, he was a familiar and popular preacher in many pulpits throughout the islands, including here in Tarbert.
John also fulfilled a very important role in the Presbytery of Lewis as ministries convenor and was particularly interested in helping and supporting students training for the ministry. None of us who were candidates for the ministry at that time can ever forget his warm-hearted support and words of counsel and wisdom to us during the years of our training.
The personal debt that I and I know many others owe to John and to his late wife Faye is incalculable. When I was eight years old, my father suffered a heart attack in the family home. One of the enduring images my mother recalled from that time was Dr Hay on his knees by my father’s bed, in earnest prayer for him. As a couple, John and Faye continued to encourage and be an inspiration to all who encountered them in any walk of life.
John leaves an enduring legacy for his family and friends as well as a deep void in the lives of all who knew him. To his daughters Peggy,Marion, Janet, Kirsty and Joy, their own husbands and the grandchildren who John loved so dearly, we extend our heartfelt and prayerful condolences.