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Three books by Bill Shackleton    

  i) keeping it cheery
 ii) sunk by my levity
iii) kilts, confetti & conspiracy




Keeping it Cheery
anecdotes from a life in Brigton by Bill Shackleton.

His book takes you a dauner through the Glasgow of yesteryear; meet characters, read anecdotes from the famous and the infamous, experience the history of the Church in Bridgeton from the inside, and enjoy this nostaligic. hilarious romp through five decades ( yes five decades) of the Brigton Youth Club, Church House.
This book will amuse and enlighten many readers it is full of rich experiences expertly and amusingly told. Its a magnificent book about Glasgow, its chancy, defiant, cheeky, gallus people. 
If laughter is the best medicine this book is just what the doctor ordered.
 ...gonnae no' dae that mister, eh?


Its a personal story, a light hearted look at the lengthy ministry in a working class parish that was Bridgeton in the east end of Glasgow, a church called St.Francis-in-the-east and its offshoot, Church House Youth Centre. 

Church House
is a youth and community centre in a rough working class area between Bridgeton Cross and Parkhead in the east end of Glasgow, founded during the second world war. It is fifty years since Bill Shackleton became involved there and in his heart he has never left it. being retired nowadays he helps raise money for the club. Long ago he heard a line "Don't over-estimate yourself: you can do very little for the really bad boy, and the good boy doesn't need you: but for the great mass of boys in between, you can do far more than you realise" 

This book offers great advice to young teachers and novice youth workers with its practical and sage advice, imparted lightly and without the slightest pomposity about how to work with alienated or difficult young people.


Welcome tae GlescaPals  Rev.Bill  Sept 05

Bill Shackleton   'Keeping it Cheery' author


When describing the phenomenon that is the Rev.Bill Shackleton, it becomes difficult to avoid over use of the word 'incorrigible'. Many have experienced his teasing humour more have fallen over and rolled around the aisles helpless in the face of a no-holds barred comedic genius.
            He became an assistant in St.Francis-in-the-east Church in 1955 becoming the parish minister in 1960 and with it the responsibility of Church House Youth Centre - his first love.
        One September Sunday in 1955 as he waited to follow the beadle into the church to start his first service in St.Francis-in-the-east, the beadle turned and whispered to him,
"keep it cheery, Bill, keep it cheery"

He little realised how difficult it would be at times to keep it cheery during the wild and wonderful years that lay ahead of him in Bridgeton.

( I took this photo at Bill's house )

GlescaPals webmaister :- Well pals I first met the Rev.Bill Shackleton when I started school as a wee five year old boy in Bridgeton. His book is a fascinating read, full of wonderful, sad,  funny, moving stories of his life working and living in Brigton.....and the many 'coincidences' that shaped his life. I highly recommend this book.




Bill's 2nd book Sunk by my Levity ( launched Nov.2005 )

Sunk by my Levity


Bill Shackleton has entertained many readers over the years in a variety of styles and with considerable range of substance.

Here the acclaimed author of Keeping It Cheery brings together his favourite pieces for the readers' pleasure in digestible chunks.

Cogitate, masticate and regurgitate with Bill in more hilarious stories from a life and ministry in Glasgow's East End. Move over, Sydney Smith!



Bill's 3rd book  Kilts, Confetti & Conspiracy  ( launched Nov.2008 )

rev kilts


Bill Shackleton, has managed to combine a career as a Church of Scotland minister with a rumbustious good humour which has disconcerted both his various congregations and the nation for years. Thus this latest opus of his, his first foray into the novel, though not fiction.

He has been at fiction for decades.
In this book you will find indeed a Scottish minister: in fact you will find two and that is for you to find out.  The Rev.Archie McTaggart is a comic creation which I suspect will last for long. The rest of the cast list - his wife Margaret, his mother-in-law (who I rather liked) and his dreadful sons. One a disastrous GP, the other a cabinet minister - and no matter the calamity a doctor can create it is nothing to that , according to Archie McTaggart, which a cabinet minister chap can inflict.

There are appalling circumstance into which the Rev.Archie finds himself - pop stars, weddings, drink - you will just have to read this for yourself.     
Jack McLean 2008




Keeping it Cheery

Sunk by my Levity
Kilts, confetti & Conspiracy 



Nov.2007, extract from email, John Black, Eire
I was wondering if you could send instructions on how best to pay for a copy of Bill Shackleton's book, preferably a signed copy. I was fortunate enough to have this unique gentleman, and his lovely children Scott, Joy and Allison be part of my life for some memorable years when he was the minister at Wellpark West in Greenock. Little does he realise the profound effect he had on me, or my faith and relationship with God.

He was also instrumental, at various times, (and Lord alone knows how), in having me play Scrooge for the nativity and a Doctor at a memorable and very eventful retreat in England. The least said about my questioning of faith at a retreat the better I think (although Bill would have been able for the questions - the poor guy that ran it wasn't). To this day I have never forgotten Maureen Telfer's hard stare or Bill's wry and amused smile for the squirming of the retreat leader.

So any info on how to send payment from the Republic Of Ireland would be greatly appreciated. Similarly any info on other books and their prices would be great.  Thanks a million, and please pass on my regards and best wishes to the man himself
Thanks, John

Dec.2020, extract from email, George Kane, Airdrie
I came across this article about Rev. Shackleton remember we wondered if he was still on the go?
We have a trainee minister along side Rev Kay at our Airdrie Church, at the moment and she was up visiting and we got to talking about Bill.

Hope all well with you and yours.
George. Awe ra best.

A smashing find George thanks for sharing with us, quite a guy who has made a massive impact on many many lives.
                     Last time I saw him he was living in Burnside, Glasgow.

Rev Bill ShackletonREGNAL LEAGUE AWARD   by Tom Williamson

In 2020 there have been a lot of strange goings on which have effected many people, not least the pandemic, which unfortunately meant we had to postpone our conference, which was meant to be in Dundee, hosted by our Scottish area. We were really looking forward to being with them, and seeing what they had in store for us, and we hope that we still can!

But, during that conference, we planned something extra special for one man - his name is Bill Shackleton... The Rev William Shackleton, better known as Bill is well known across The Regnal League, he's held various offices, not least he's been the instigator of many of our achievements and he had his hand in creating our wonderful and treasured prayer book, At Prayer. For many years he was also our patron.

Whatever each of us remember Bill for, we can all agree that he's a pretty special man - and in his late 90s now, he's led quite a life! During the 2020 conference, we had planned to award Bill with a token of our appreciation for all is hard work over his many years with Regnal.

Bill attends St. Francis in The East/Bridgeton Circle in Glasgow, he's also the progress officer for the Scottish Area, and we can safely say he's well equipped for that role!      Bill has undeniably done many things with his life, and whatever is next, we wish him well!

The text on the plate reads -
"Presented to Revd. Bill Shackleton in appreciation of many years service to the Regnal League nationally"

Our special thanks to the Rev Howard Hudson from St. Francis in the East/Bridgeton for delivering this gift to Bill and providing us with this wonderful photo! Bill looks delighted!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Rev Bill ShackletonObituary by Very Reverend John Miller in 'The Herald'
Born: October 19, 1927;   Died: January 8, 2022.
With the death of the Rev Bill Shackleton at the age of 94, the Church of Scotland has lost a unique and distinctive voice. Bill spoke with love, understanding, and humour about the East End of Glasgow, its life and its characters.
Bill was born in Glasgow, his parents both from Govan. His father served in an infantry unit throughout the First World War, and after the War, in a time of unemployment, he took work in Preston, where he and his wife brought up their three sons.
Bill left Preston Grammar School at 15 to become an apprentice printer. He attended the local Congregational Church where the minister, a future Bishop of Coventry, pointed Bill in the direction of the ministry. He left printing and a livelihood after three years to take up his studies. Fascinated by reading and especially by history, he gained entry to Edinburgh University where he studied History and Theology.

Set on becoming a minister in Scotland, in 1955 Bill joined the Iona Community in the dynamic days of the rebuilding of Iona Abbey. Inspired by the communal pattern of Iona’s life, he became assistant minister to the Rev. John Sim at St Francis-in-the-East in Glasgow’s Bridgeton.

He lived in the flat at Church House, a pioneering centre of youth work under the supervision of the church. There he became deeply involved in the challenges of the young people who attended the youth club.

His five years at Church House bound him closely to the local community, and it was no surprise when in 1960 he was called to be the minister of St Francis-in-the-East. In 1963 he married Margaret Brown, who he had known through their shared engagement with the Iona Community. Bill took great pride in St Francis’s place in Bridgeton life, and his family life with Margaret and the children was woven into the life of the parish.

Through Church House and as chaplain to local schools, and through his pastoral care of people in the congregation and the community, he developed a key role in Bridgeton’s life. He became a member of the Bridgeton Business Club, and was sometime President of the Club. As a supporter of Rangers, he was delighted that the Business Club’s monthly lunch was held locally at Celtic’s Parkhead Stadium. He was a devotee of the work of Robert Burns, and was a member of the Bridgeton Burns Club. He was well-known as a speaker at Burns Suppers, where his speeches were both learned and hilarious.

While Bill had no interest in senior roles in Presbytery or the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, he was not shy of making his opinions publicly known. He was a prolific writer of letters to the Editor of The Herald on the widest range of topics. In such letters his humour was ever-present. He wrote articles for the church magazine, Life and Work, won praise for his short stories, and published three books which recounted stories of his life as a minister with both wit and compassion.

Bill always sought to involve working men in the spiritual dimension of discussion and action. To achieve this, he promoted the work of The Regnal League.

The Regnal League had its roots in the trenches of the Western Front in the First World War and was founded by the Rev Donald Standfast. He recognised that men who had shared those horrifying years might be looking for a way of life which attended to ‘body, mind, and spirit, with Christ at the Centre’. Bill founded several Regnal Circles in Scotland, including one in Bridgeton, which still meets today. Men found that it offered them a fellowship of equals, and a definite spiritual focus.

After 23 years at St Francis-in-the-East, Bill accepted a call to Wellpark West church in Greenock. In 13 years there he continued his focus on youth work through his youth fellowship, and fulfilled a committed pastoral ministry, including as chaplain to Greenock Prison, until his retirement. In retirement he was called to support the vacant parish of Toryglen Church and its people.

But even while focused on Greenock he retained his love for Bridgeton. He continued to take an interest in the Bridgeton Business Club, in the Burns Club, and in Church House. He supported the work of the Regnal League across the UK, and in 2020 the UK-wide League presented him with a silver salver, honouring his indispensable role over many years.

Anyone who met Bill remembers him. The parishes he served knew difficult times, and Bill was steadfast in his commitment to his parishioners and those in need. He also fulfilled the instruction given to him by the Beadle on his first Sunday at St Francis: "Keep it cheery, Bill; keep it cheery".

Bill is survived by his wife Margaret, with whom he shared 59 years of marriage, by their son the Rev Scott Shackleton, and their daughters Alison and Joy, and six grandchildren.


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