Alistair – a Gala Rugby Club stalwart

Alistair Pattullo obituary
Alistair Pattullo obituary

The mark of a man is surely the influence for the better that he has on others during his lifetime.

In the case of Alistair Pattullo, who died recently, that influence will be considerable, whether among the generations of youngsters he taught while an instructor in the Boys’ Brigade; his wartime comrades in the Black Watch; fellow trade union members; colleagues in the Post Office; the hundreds he taught the skills of first aid and those he met through his long involvement with Gala Rugby Club.

Born in Broughty Ferry in 1926, he joined the Post Office after school. Life was interrupted by the Second World War, during which he served in the Black Watch as part of the Allied occupation of Germany.

It was a Post Office promotion to postal and telegraph officer that saw him move to Galashiels from Perth in 1951.

In 1955 he married Grace. Their first home in Galashiels was a flat in Wood Street – and the joys of only an outside toilet – so Grace was deeply grateful when they got a new council house in Langlee.

Their first son, Alistair, was born in 1955, followed by Andrew and Marion. Alistair and Grace were members of St John’s Church, where both sang in the choir.

The owner of a fine tenor voice, Alistair happily burst into song anywhere and willingly entertained every gathering and bus trip he attended over the years – and even had a song on his lips right up to the end.

Secretary of the Galashiels branch of the Union of Post Office Workers (UPW) for 30 years, he also served as district organiser of all the Borders UPW branches and was on the union’s Scottish committee.

It was during his time in the Post Office that Alistair took up first aid, eventually organising classes in Galashiels for most of the industries in the town, as well as teaching members of the police, gas and electricity boards, and the Post Office. A Boys’ Brigade instructor, he also taught many youngsters in the 2nd and 6th Galashiels BB companies.

His sporting interests were varied, but after being introduced to rugby, he developed a lifelong passion for the oval ball game.

Alistair joined Gala RFC supporters’ committee in the 1960s and began an involvement that saw him serve as the Netherdale club’s assistant secretary, secretary, vice-president, president and then secretary again – the latter a post he held for 23 years overall.

He was generous to family, visitors and acquaintances all his life and retained a sharp sense of humour, even during his final illness.

Alistair is survived by Grace, his children, four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.