On 28th September, 2007, Arthur Pollard was suddenly called home at the age of 62. From Faskally House, Pitlochry, a beautiful place which had become special to him, and to many others through him, he left us for a far more beautiful place which was far more special to him. The eternal glory of heaven to which God took him as he sat down in his car that morning, far eclipsed the radiant glory of the autumn colours he had watched developing all around him.
He and his dear wife Christine had come to Faskally in 1996 to take on the key role of managing this picturesque facility which God in His goodness had provided as a permanent site for youth camps and the like. Such a place had been his vision from many years before, when, with his long standing interest in young people and summer camps for them, he realised these were being threatened with discontinuation due to the increasing difficulties of using school premises. In conjunction with other brethren, Faskally Christian Trust was formed, eventually enabling Faskally House to be purchased, equipped, and used for the furtherance of the work of God in Scotland and beyond. This was a work which was very dear and important to Arthur. For these last eleven years, many hundreds of young people have attended Camps and weekend events at Faskally. Many have been saved, the faith of others has been strengthened, and young lives have been challenged and changed. In addition to that, there was an annual Families Holiday, and 6 times a year older believers came to the increasingly valued "Midweek Breaks". Many who were quite lonely at home enjoyed fellowship with others on a short holiday with a real spiritual atmosphere. Bible studies were led by different brethren, bringing encouragement to all and great satisfaction to Arthur and Christine as they ministered to their guests in all kinds of ways.
Whilst most people will now associate our brother and his service for the Lord with Faskally, his work for the Lord had begun long before that. He was saved at the age of 5, and he loved to tell you that he never doubted the reality of it though so young. He was baptised and received into assembly fellowship when he was 13. Encouraged by good and godly parents, his faith grew with his years, and soon began to show itself in service for Christ.
He was well recognised as a Christian during school days in Rutherglen. At Paisley University, he, along with other students, bore faithful witness to Christ and saw some others saved and continue for God. He also committed himself fully to the work of the Lord from and through assemblies in west and mid Scotland. Tract distribution, open air preaching, visiting places where there was little or no gospel witness, teaching children - all these became regular activities for him from then on.
At this time he met Christine, and in due course they were married, agreed on the importance of heeding the call of Christ to serve Him together. He worked with Redpath Dorman Long for 7 years as a civil engineer until the Lord called him in 1970 to leave a promising career, so that together he and Christine could devote their time and energy to the spread of the gospel of Christ in their native Scotland, after considering a similar call to the foreign mission field. They moved from the west to the east of Scotland and set up home in Montrose, where they brought up their three children David, Stephen and Gwen.
They were in fellowship in the assembly in Montrose from 1970 to 1996, and developed many opportunities to reach out with the gospel to people, young and old, there and in the widely spread coastal and rural villages of Angus. In what he now considered to be his field of labour he sought to bring the Word of God to as many as possible by many different means. For a long time he had childrens meetings every night of the week in different places such as St Cyrus, Johnshaven, and Inverbervie, as well as in the larger towns of Forfar and parts of Dundee. He engaged in personal visiting and open air preaching. He regularly manned a bookstall in Montrose High Street and later in Forfar Market every Saturday. He visited and encouraged small assemblies throughout the area.
Around 1979 he took over the Highlands and Islands Postal Sunday School. This outreach covered places which he later loved to visit when he could, keeping up a personal contact with many of the scholars for a long time. Renaming it the Scottish Postal Sunday School and Bible Class, he expanded that work to cover a much wider area, even to oil rigs and abroad, until at one time about 800 lessons over a range of five age groups were being dispatched each month and returned for marking. He did all this with very modest resources and equipment, and with the assistance of a few helpers and markers. Seed sown in this way did bear fruit in many young lives.
With his particular interest in young people, it was no surprise that he developed a great interest in camp work. The benefits were obvious to him, as they were to many others, of having children and teenagers together for a week of their holidays in a Christian atmosphere, being shown and taught the love of Christ and the way of salvation. He was first involved with existing camps based in Aberdeen and also in Angus, serving as a leader, helper, and preacher from time to time. Then, with the extra contacts through the postal work, and the need to gather young people together from more remote areas, he and others began what was first called the Scottish Postal Sunday School and Bible Class Camps, now incorporated into the Tayside Christian Youth Camps. These camps were first held in schools in the east of Scotland, but for the past 11 years have benefited from the excellent facilities at Faskally. They have continued with the help of several able and willing young folk, but each was still organised and administered by himself in his own unique way.
In all the work he did, he was a man of spiritual vision and immense energy, of humility yet tenacity, possessed of a phenomenal memory for names, faces, places, needs, and many details which others forgot. His interest in people was deep and genuine, as witnessed by his numerous and repeated phone calls, by his extensive travels all over the country to visit individuals or small assemblies he wanted to help and encourage, and by his correspondence and communications at home and abroad. He was truly a helper of many in addition to being a capable teacher of the Word and a fervent preacher of the gospel. He had a rare ability to span the generations and bring a relevant ministry to all age groups. He was enthusiastic about all he did, often leading the singing with his rich, clear voice. His public prayers were characteristically short and to the point, as were the rich expressions of his worship at the Lords Supper. He was always encouraging others to "press on" as he did himself so eagerly in every duty he performed until the day he died.
For the last 11 years, while living in Pitlochry, the nearest assembly in Perth 26 miles to the south became their spiritual home. There they found happy fellowship and further opportunities to be useful and helpful, not regarding the distance to be travelled as any inhibition to full commitment. The nearest assembly to the north, 40 miles away in Kingussie, also benefited from frequent visits, as did another very small assembly in Forfar also 40 miles away, which he supported faithfully and regularly until it closed.
Christ was the foundation and passion of his life. Serving and representing Christ was his lifes work and ambition. We thank God for our memories of Arthur Pollard, a man who served God so well. He has left a tremendous gap in the ranks, and we are challenged by his ministry and example which live on.