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Community stalwart and ground breaking farm contractor dies

By Pat Scott

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A man who combined a busy and successful working life with extensive good works across the community died last Friday after taking ill at his home.

Tom McWilliam, (71) was born and brought up in Glass and in recent years, Tom had returned to the family farm, The Torry where he had sheep, Clydesdale horses and a growing collection of vintage tractors.

His main business was as Scotland’s sole licensed operator qualified to fumigate grain stores and boats the length and breadth of the country.

His heart was always in farming and although he qualified at Tulliallan police college, his career on the beat was short but he became a special constable.

He worked for a period in a farm contracting business, driving Unimog tractors. He became a demonstrator for the company and at a Scottish Ploughing Championship was crowned champion. The same vehicle was often called in for rescues from inaccessible areas.

Always ambitious, he launched his own agricultural contracting company in 1972 and built it from a one man business to one with eight employees covering thousands of acres across the north and north east. He was a ground breaker with new machinery and technologies.

Tom had three stints as president of Huntly Rotary Club. His key focus was always on the local community - he arranged for the town to have a Christmas tree, was key in festive activities and loved taking old folks out for an afternoon run.

He led the committee which raised the money to buy the first community minibus and was current chairman of Huntly Educational Trust.

He never said no when asked to help facilitate a burial at Wallakirk Cemetery - even stepping in to conduct the service.

He went beyond the call of duty keeping roads open in the winter.

Tom with his partner Jeanette Andrew enjoyed travelling and had been to Trinidad and Canada as well as travelling on the Swiss Glacier Express.

A devoted family man, he is survived by Val, Mandi, Karen and TJ and nine grandchildren.

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