Geoffrey T Bull, missionary,

author, poet, and Bible teacher;

born June 24, 1921, died April 11, 1999

THREE years' imprisonment in Tibet while he was serving as a missionary brought Geoffrey Bull to the attention of thousands of people around the world. His best-selling autobiography When Iron Gates Yield tells his remarkable story.

Geoffrey set out from London to be a missionary in China in February 1947. Little could he have imagined the drama and suffering he would endure in the ensuing years. He studied the Chinese and Tibetan languages, travelled thousands of miles preaching and teaching even before entering Tibet.

He first set foot on Tibetan soil on July 29, 1950, and wrote in his Bible: ''Just before noon, I crossed the River of the Golden Sand which flows from the upper reaches of the Yangtze and set my foot down on Tibetan soil - for me a very great event, and I also dare to believe a very great event in the history of the Gospel's advance in central Asia by the will of God.''

In the days and months that followed he suffered severe illness, experienced earthquakes, and witnessed to his faith to senior politicians. He met the advance guard of the invading Red Army, was taken prisoner, put under house arrest. So began three years of captivity.

He endured solitary confinement in a dungeon and humiliating cross-examination. He established a daily routine which included praying, memorising the Bible, singing hymns, composing poems, and meditation. Geoffrey was 29 years of age and branded as spy.

He was handcuffed, falsely accused, mentally and physically tortured, and threatened with execution. But his faith remained firm. It was around this time he became increasingly aware of the prayers of Christians around the world. His captors wondered at his composure.

In September 1953 he was taken to Chungking and placed in solitary confinement. Later, on December 11 of that year, he was told that he was to be expelled from Tibet.

On December 15 at Hankou he was given back his personal belongings including his Bible. He was eventually freed on December 19, 1953, at Canton and then went to Hong Kong en route for the UK. After a short rest he travelled the country sharing his experiences of sustaining grace while in prison.

In 1955 he married his wife Nan (Templeton) from Milngavie and lived for more than 40 years in the Milngavie area. Geoffrey developed a much-appreciated Bible-teaching ministry which not only took him all over the UK but across the world spending a great deal of time in the Far East. He wrote several books including some for children.

Geoffrey leaves his wife and three sons, Ross, Peter, and Alister, their wives, and eight grandchildren.