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Rev Dr William Pollock

Church of Scotland minister;

Born: March 24, 1949; Died: December 13, 2012.

The Rev Dr William Pollock, who has died aged 63, was a Church of Scotland minister on Mull for 15 years. After lengthy undergraduate and postgraduate study in Scotland and England, he worked for the Church of England before moving to Mull in 1987. He suggested the quote from Corinthians that is inscribed on the Scottish Parliament.

He was born in Glasgow and from the age of three said he wanted to be a minister. His father asked others in the family to see if they could persuade him to study science instead, but nothing could make him change his mind.

He obtained an MA with a major interest in psychology from the University of Glasgow in 1971 and then a BD in 1974, also from Glasgow. He then went to St John's College at Cambridge to study for a higher degree and was subsequently awarded a Doctor of Philosophy.

He graduated from Cambridge in 1980. The title of his thesis was A Psychological Theory of Resonance and the Significance of Religious Experience. He remained in Cambridge for several years and undertook a detailed study on the Selection for Ministry in the Church of England, some of which drew on his own experiences of examining theological students.

He was ordained to the ministry and in 1987 was inducted in Salen Church as the associate minister to the churches of North Mull, where he ministered for 15 years until he retired in 2002 when his struggle with Parkinson's disease became more problematic. He never once complained, no matter how much he must have suffered.

About 18 months ago he announced he was writing a series of short stories for Advent entitled Advent Anecdotage – Mishaps of a Minister on Mull. In one of the stories he recounted how one night he found a wet woolly hat lying near the grocer's car park in Salen. He put it in the nearby pillarbox, thinking the postman would hand it in to the adjacent post office. He then decided to retrieve it to avoid soaking the mail, but somehow managed to jam his arm inside the pillarbox. It is hard to imagine the local minister being caught by the police with his arm inside a pillarbox but everything ended happily when he managed to free his arm.

After his retirement, Dr Pollock documented the Mull bus and ferry timetables and pointed out to the appropriate authorities that many connections between ferries and buses were inadequate and, as a result, timetables were changed.

He loved Mull, as well as nearby Ulva and Gometra. He seemed to know everyone on these islands and if he met visitors was not backwards in coming forwards to introduce himself and ask if he could help to plan their holiday.

His was a caring ministry and countless individuals spoke of the debt they owed to him for unfailing attention in times of need. When the new Scottish Parliament was being designed, MSPs were asked for suggestions for a biblical quote that might be suitable for inscription within the precincts. Dr Pollock suggested a biblical extract which was ultimately selected, and can be seen inscribed on the ground just inside the members' entrance. It was from 1st Corinthians 13, verse 1, which reads as follows in the King James's version of the Bible:

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass and tinkling cymbal."

He never married but will be fondly remembered by family and many on Mull and beyond who regarded him as a dedicated and caring minister.

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