Described as reticent, stubborn, courageous or endearing by those who knew him, William Purdom (1880-1921) believed every worker deserved a living wage. His social and environmental concerns about the impact of deforestation were years ahead of his time. He travelled to China where he explored many areas new to Europeans and he had a special rapport with the Chinese. To him, they were simply friends. As well as searching for plants he carried with him photographic equipment and brought back unique images not only of plants but landscapes and people. The Chinese people erected a memorial to him in the Purdom Forest Park, Xinyang.