Photo caption: Bob and Margaret Pullan, 1983
A Rocha is grieving the loss of Bob Pullan who was the first chair of the A Rocha trustees in 1983 when the organization was established. At the time he was a senior lecturer in bio-geography at Liverpool University and had extensive experience of living and working in Africa. He was also church warden of St Mary’s Upton on Merseyside in the UK which was effectively the founding church for the fledgling project.
His first response on being asked to take on the role proved to be prophetic when he said ‘My life is ready for a new direction’. Many A Rocha members from UK gave their time and talents during the early years during which the first field study centre was established on the Alvor estuary in Portugal, but none gave more than Bob who with his wife Margaret saw their home overrun with volunteers, sweatshirts for sale, and publicity materials as they offered hospitality to many visitors. He led field expeditions for his students to stay in the centre and contributed some of the early work that surveyed disappearing wetlands and other habitats. The tradition of rigorous science and lively faith which has remained an A Rocha constant around the world owes a great deal to Bob’s initial leadership and his wisdom will be hugely missed.