An interview with Hugh Ainsley

Continuing our effort to introduce the folks of Bellshill Central to the rest of the church family, visitors and the wider community we are interviewing various “well kent faces” from the congregation.  This time we interview our friend Hugh Ainsley, who is also an Elder at Bellshill Central.

12973353_10153597006827613_796509675598373409_oMy first name is actually George. My father was George Henry Ainsley and was always called Harry, so I suspect that is why my parents always used my middle name.

I lived at home with my parents until I was 30 and in 1984 moved out, buying my first home in MacDonald Grove, Bellshill. As a child I had gone with my parents to Flowerhill Church in Airdrie but my mother stopped going to church when I was in my teens, although my father continued to attend. On moving to Bellshill I decided to try out my local church and enjoyed the services at Orbiston with minister Charlie Greig. I continued to attend Orbiston even after I moved to Larkhall and then after working for 8 months in the Middle East when I came back to Orbiston Martin Johnstone was the new minister.

It was Martin who asked me to become an elder, although I pointed out that I wasn’t good at talking to people and wouldn’t be comfortable doing elder visits. Because of this and also since I didn’t live in the parish I was given the postal district to take care of and also took on the role of looking after the church roll. By this time I had moved house again, back to my roots in Airdrie, just a mile from where my parents still lived, but I continue to attend Orbiston. When the churches were due to merge and there was a lot of uncertainty I considered moving to Calderbank church which is near where I stay but I decided to wait and see how the merger would go and made up my mind to decide once a new minister was appointed. As the churches merged I made many new friends from the MacDonald Memorial congregation and like I think all the other members I enjoyed working with our locum Iain and so I had made up my mind to stay unless I really didn’t like the new minister when he/she was appointed. (Kevin, I’m still here!)

My favourite hymn is probably “How Great Thou Art”, although I am also fond of any hymn sung to either Sibelius’s Finlandia or Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Another reason for my deciding to stay with Bellshill Central was my enjoyment of the organ and I have enjoyed working with Alan for many of our special events.

As you all know my day job is being a maths teacher at Larkhall Academy. For the past three and a half years I have been on phased retirement working only Monday to Wednesday. However I am kept extremely busy with a lot of voluntary work and (including the church board and session) I sit on about 10 different committees and so have meetings to attend most weeks. I am convener for Scottish Schools badminton and Area Organiser for Lanarkshire Schools badminton and also am a member of the Technical Commission for International Schoolsport Federation Badminton, being involved with the running of the World Schools championships every two years. Most recently this has taken me to Bulgaria, Malta and Taipei. If I am not in church on a Sunday I will usually be sitting at a desk with my laptop running a badminton event. I also am a member of Hamilton District Sports Council and I now do a lot of work for the United Kingdom Maths Trust, and have been a coordinator of maths competitions in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Carlisle.

When I am at home I enjoy working in my garden, reading books and listening to music. I enjoy classical music, particularly the works of Tchaikovsky and Wagner. My favourite classical singers are Placido Domingo and Jessye Norman and my favourite non classical artist is the French conductor Franck Pourcel who died in 2000. I am trying to complete my collection of all the tracks he ever recorded and have well over 100 CDs, LPs and tapes of his music. My music collection consists of around 2000 albums and my book collection is also well over 1000 so it is just as well that I am now progressing to having my music and literature on my kindle as I am running out of storage space.

I would like to see people throughout the world working together to avoid conflict. In the badminton world I have seen so many people each trying to do their own thing and not working with others for the better good. In my early years on the ISF technical commission we had difficulty at the meetings because my colleague from France didn’t speak good English and my French wasn’t good enough to follow a discussion in a meeting. I therefore think we need to do more to try to learn foreign languages as I don’t believe we should always expect everyone else to speak our language.

At school the three subjects I didn’t like were P.E., music and art. Strangely enough I then got involved with sport and have enjoyed playing tennis, golf, squash and badminton although the only one I still play is badminton. I also developed a liking for music but have never really got around to appreciating art.

My only relatives are 2 cousins, both of whom are older than me and we only meet 3 or 4 times a year. I find it difficult to make friends and am particularly uncomfortable in crowds unless I have a job to do and so enjoy the companionship of the church here at Bellshill Central.

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