Salvation Army has been Cumbernauld pensioner’s guiding light for 70 years

Hugh Robinson with his articles of war, which date back to April 1947 when he joined the Salvation Army.
Hugh Robinson with his articles of war, which date back to April 1947 when he joined the Salvation Army.

A Cumbernauld pensioner says his Christian faith has been a guiding light throughout his life as he prepares to celebrate 70 years of being a Salvation Army soldier.

Hugh Robinson (87) marked the incredible milestone as a member of the church and charity at a special service at his corps (church) in the town.

Hugh, who has four sons, a daughter, 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, joined the Salvation Army on April 2, 1947. Incredibly, Hugh’s original articles of war – a series of promises and statements of belief – were unearthed recently and presented to him by Lieutenants Les and Emma Heal, his church leaders at Cumbernauld.

During his life, Hugh has been an insurance salesman, Salvation Army officer, and a taxi driver – but one thing that hasn’t changed is his belief in God and his dedication to the Salvation Army.

“Being close to God as a soldier of the Salvation Army has kept me on a path,” he said. “I joined the Salvation Army as a young boy. The hall was opposite my house in the Tradeston area of Glasgow and I went there regularly. Then I became a senior soldier at the age of 17.

“Shortly afterwards I was called up to the Navy, where I spent two great years. I had to make it clear to my fellow officers that I didn’t drink alcohol but they were quite happy because they ended up getting my share.

“When I left the Navy I got a job as a salesman with the Salvation Army Insurance Company. From there I became a superintendent in the Salvation Army and moved to Coatbridge.

“I felt called to become an officer and went to the training college. My first posting was to the west end of Glasgow with my wife Agnes.

“The officer’s life didn’t suit my wife and so we left but remained members of the Salvation Army. We moved to the east end and I became a soldier at Parkhead. We moved out to Cumbernauld and I got a job as a taxi driver. I still continued to be a member of the church in Parkhead until about five years ago when Agnes died.

“I couldn’t travel to Parkhead so I joined the Salvation Army in Cumbernauld. It was a good decision because I met Captains Steve and Jo Moir and they were incredible with me. I wasn’t in a good place five years ago but with God’s grace and their help I got over it.

“Getting older and living alone means there are fewer opportunities to socialise so I like to be as involved in the church as possible. I go to bible study and I find that very worthwhile. And I help count the money on a Tuesday.”

Despite his vintage, Hugh admits he’s still learning about God. “I attend soldier’s class and bible study in the evening. I’m always learning something about the Bible. It all helps keep me saved and sane.”