Ian V Longfield
Ian joined the Leys School in 1941, after its evacuation to Pitlochry. He loved his time there, particularly excelling at sport. In his final year he played hockey for the school and captained the rugby and cricket teams. He was Head of School House and Senior Prefect in 1945-6.
Ian secured a place to read History at Clare College, Cambridge but his plans changed. After completing his National Service with the Army in Orkney, he felt that God had directed him to train to be a doctor instead. This required some negotiation with Clare College and a crash course in Chemistry the Summer before he was due to start his medical studies. After three years at Clare he completed his medical training at the London Hospital. Ian continued to play rugby and cricket while studying but had to abandon sport later after a knee injury put him out of action.
Even though Ian felt that God had spoken to him about becoming a doctor, he didn’t really know God at the time. He met some friends at University who seemed to have an understanding of God and a relationship with Him. Everything changed for Ian in his final year as the result of a mission held at the Clare College Chapel. He responded to the Gospel message that he heard, turning to God for forgiveness and committing himself to follow Jesus.
Ian’s Christian faith and his medical career defined him for the rest of his life. He returned to his home city of Newcastle after completing his training and took up a post as a General Practitioner on a new council housing estate. In 1958 he married Helen, also from Newcastle. They spent their honeymoon in Pitlochry, although not at the Atholl Palace Hotel. Helen had also become a Christian in her twenties and they formed a team which lasted 64 years. Ian was a natural leader and she was always his lieutenant. Along with his medical partners, he built up the GP practice more or less from scratch. He and Helen lived in a house attached to the surgery so they were never really off duty. As well as ministering to the medical needs of the people, he was concerned for people’s spiritual wellbeing. With a group of like-minded people, Ian and Helen established an Evangelical Church on the estate and they saw a number of people coming to faith in Jesus as a result. He was a good lay preacher and Bible teacher and had a heart to see the churches across Newcastle united and working together.
Ian served as an old-fashioned GP for 30 years full time and a further 5 years part time. He knew his patients and their families well, often looking after several generations of one family. During this time he and Helen raised a family of their own, which, by the time of Ian’s death, stood at three children, eight grand-children and four great grand-children. He is survived by Helen.
Ian had a number of health challenges towards the end of his life. He spent three years in residential care when his needs became too complicated for him to be cared for at home. He died peacefully on August 3rd, 2022, going “home” to the Lord and Saviour he had loved and served for so many years.
Words by Jane van Es