Fond memories of Leighton’s Falkirk visit

Sylvia Blair and her friends meeting Leighton Ford in June 1969
Sylvia Blair and her friends meeting Leighton Ford in June 1969

Evangelist Leighton Ford’s visit to Falkirk in the late 1960s was big news - and autograph hunter Sylvia Blair remembers the occasion well.

Falkirk Bairn Sylvia was just 14 at the time when the famous American preacher rolled into Grahamston Station on June 16, 1969.

She said: “Marion Laird and my cousin Jean Leslie Firth, who was three years older than us, queued up to meet him and get his autograph.

“He arrived to a huge welcome and filled Falkirk Town Hall every night of the week.

“Looking back it was such a happy occasion, but it saddens me to think that today’s society no longer holds the same values as we had as youngsters when this event was as popular as today’s youth listening to the likes of One Direction.”

Sylvia said there was a real buzz about the town during the visit. She added: “The Town Hall was alive with Gospel music, songs of praise and lively sermons that united all the people from differing faiths.

“At the close of each service Leighton Ford invited those who wanted to dedicate their lives to God to come forward and hundreds did.

“We were representing our church, Olivet Gospel Hall and Graeme High School where W.K. Morrison was the headmaster and also a member of our church.”