The Minister who provided solace and comfort for those affected by the North Sea helicopter crash last year has died.
Reverend Andrew Jolly, chaplain to the UK’s Oil and Gas Industry died last night at home following a long battle with cancer. He was 54.
Born in Aberdeen in 1956, Mr Jolly was ordained by the Presbytery of Glasgow in April 1983, and was a minister in Dundee before becoming an RAF chaplain in 1996 and then being appointed the country’s chaplain to the oil and gas industry in 2006.
Mr Jolly provided pastoral care and support for the families and friends of those aboard the Bond Super Puma helicopter which crashed off the Aberdeenshire coast on April 1, 2009. All 16 men on the BP helicopter perished in the tragedy.
His deep respect for and passionate commitment to his unique ministry was apparent to all. A man of great energy and focus, he quickly became a familiar and trusted face both on and offshore, and worked tirelessly to consolidate and strengthen the Chaplaincy as integral part of the industry.
As a former military chaplain, Andrew was well accustomed to the pastoral needs of people working in tough environments. He was a frequent visitor to the offshore oil and gas installations, which he considered his role’s core and where he would often spend several days at a time with the crew.
A well respected and much loved chaplain he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen in the 2010 Birthday Honours List. An unassuming man, he said at the time, he never expected to be given special recognition for what he considered to be “just doing my job.” The honour he said served as a reminder of those who died on April 1 last year and Morecambe Bay on December 27, 2006.
But he was also in the industry in happier times. His direct manner and willing “can-do” attitude made him popular across the industry and was as much at home officiating at weddings as enjoying the banter with a roustabout on a rig.
Onshore, most Sundays found him taking a church service as a visiting preacher, which he saw as an essential part of his ministry, as was his membership of the Presbytery of Aberdeen. Committed to the interdenominational nature of Chaplaincy, Andrew fostered and strengthened existing links with other denominations.
Right Reverend John Christie, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, paid tribute to Mr Jolly.
He said: “Andrew Jolly brought to his chaplaincy duties skills developed through his background in electrical engineering and product design through service as both Royal Air Force Chaplain as well as parish ministry.
“A man of deep faith he is remembered for both his wisdom and counsel. His customary modesty was reflected in the way he responded to news that he was to be awarded the MBE. He saw it as recognising the valuable work the chaplaincy service did and a tribute to those who had perished while he was chaplain.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with all his family at this time as well as those with whom he worked.”
Brian Wilkie, Chairman of the Aberdeen Oil Industry Chaplaincy Trust, said: “Andrew used to say that while the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry might be big industry, it is a small community and today that community will feel its loss very keenly.
“He made a difference to those whose lives he touched and he touched many. We will join with all in this industry to offer our most sincere condolences to Andrew’s family.”
Andrew Jolly is survived by his wife, Chrissie, and their two daughters, Sarah and Alexandra.
A Service of Thanksgiving will be held at the Kirk of St Nicholas Uniting, Aberdeen at 3.30pm on Saturday, October 2, to which all are invited. This will be preceded by the private funeral earlier in the day.
For further information contact Nick Jury, Senior Media Relations Officer, Church of Scotland Communications Department, 0131 240 2268/07881 971 953.