A MINISTER who spent close to four decades at the helm of two county churches still comes back to the county. . . to visit his dentist.

The Rev Laurence Twaddle was minister at Belhaven linked with Spott for almost 39 years before swapping the East Lothian coast for the Alps in January 2017.

He took up the role of minister for the Church of Scotland in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was joined by wife Lindy, who was previously headteacher at Macmerry Primary School.

Mr Twaddle, who was succeeded by the Rev Neil Watson in East Lothian, told the Courier he was enjoying life in Switzerland’s second biggest city.

He said: “Life in Geneva is wonderful – a great climate, stunning mountain scenery. It is always full of interest – lovely cafes, restaurants and little markets – and very handy for trips to fabulous locations but it will never be West Barns!

“One of the first things to strike you when you get here is how expensive everything is; clean, organised, calm but expensive!

“Living in the city might not seem very appealing after the delights of John Muir Country Park and Belhaven Bay but there is amazingly good public transport.

And being from where we are, within very easy reach of France, rivers, hills and forests, you can almost forget you are living in an apartment, and not a lovely old Scottish manse.

Switzerland is exactly as you would imagine it: chocolate box chalets, the Alps are breath-taking, gorgeous lakes aplenty and a train system that makes travel relaxed and pleasant.”

Mr Twaddle, who was also hospital chaplain at Belhaven Hospital and the club chaplain for Dunbar United FC, stressed there was plenty to miss about East Lothian – including Dunbar United and the Courier – although Geneva “kind of” felt like home.

“I certainly do miss East Lothian as a place,” he added.

“The sea and the harbour at Dunbar, walks with the dogs in Tyninghame woods, coffee at Graze [in Dunbar], a busy High Street where you bump into people and share a greeting.

“This rarely happens in a big city context and it is a precious thing that you don’t appreciate till you don’t have it!

“And the people – who are still engraved on my heart and always will be.

“We came back for my daughter’s wedding last November and I still have the same wonderful dentist, so there are two visits a year.

It is cheaper to fly over and have my twice yearly check up than pay for it in Geneva!

“We’ve been really fortunate to have lots of visitors come over since we came here and I do keep in touch with people.

“The friendships and love of those 38 years or so don’t just stop overnight and never will.”