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Tributes pour in following the untimely death of renowned north-east Shetland pony breeder, farmer and community stalwart Harry Sleigh


By David Porter

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Harry at Turriff Show 2019
Harry at Turriff Show 2019

From football teams, to national organisations, community groups, friends and associates, tributes have poured in following the passing of Harry Sleigh, St John's Wells, Fyvie.

Mr Sleigh had been admitted to hospital at the start of September with what was confirmed at the time as suspected Covid-19.

In a statement his wife Wendy said on Saturday afternoon that "Harry lost his battle with Covid today, he was very peaceful.

"(His sons) Harry, Stewie and I were with him. "

One of the most well known faces in the north-east agricultural community, both for his Shetland pony stud and commercial sheep breeding Mr Sleigh was also actively involved in the local community as part of the community council for Fyvie, Rothienorman and Monquhitter and as part of the local amenities committee.

He was also a regular on the football pitches of the north-east in his capacity as a referee.

The Shetland Pony Stud Book Society's Anne De La Warr said: "The president and council send their deepest condolences to Harry's family.

"Harry was a valued member of council and a SPSBS panel judge, our prayers are with his family."

Turriff Thistle FC said: "Everyone at Turriff Thistle Football Club were absolutely devastated to hear of the passing of our friend, Harry Sleigh.

"Harry was known to all at the Club from the many home matches he refereed over several years at the Haughs and the players and officials would always look forward to hearing his new stories from the last time he had been there.

"Although everyone called him Harry before each match when his whistle blew he was always referred to as “ref” showing the respect felt for him by both teams.

"He will be greatly missed, both on and off the field, and we offer our deepest condolences to Harry’s family and friends at this tragic time.

Tarves Football Club said: "All at TFC are saddened by the passing of Harry Sleigh.

"Although he had stepped back from refereeing for the AAFA, he would always be willing to take a friendly game at Hillhead Park and thoroughly enjoyed the ‘banter’ giving as good as he got!

"The club would like to pass on our condolences to Wendy, Harry jr, Stewie, their extended family and Harry’s many, many friends at this time.

"Keep blawing yer whistle, RIP Harry".

Fyvie FC said: "All at Fyvie FC were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Harry Sleigh.

"Harry who in his younger years played for Fyvie FC was one of the first to join our committee when we first decided to reform the club and enter the welfare league and the work and help he put forward was invaluable in how we built the club to move forward.

"Harry will be known to many locally as a prominent and popular member of the community as well as running the local family farm.

"In his 'spare' time Harry was also a well-respected referee who if you ever came across him on a football pitch you would know wasn't to be messed with!

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Harry's family at this time who were at his bedside when he passed.

"He was a local legend who will be very sadly missed by everyone who knew him."

Harry at Turriff Show 2016
Harry at Turriff Show 2016

Turriff United Football Club said: "Everyone at Turriff United were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Harry Sleigh.

"Harry was known to many through football as a gent who gave up his time to referee games at varying levels in the local area but was also a popular member of the community in the surrounding areas, and had many friends made throughout the years in the farming community.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Harry's family at this terrible time.

Fyvie and District Amenities Committee said: "Members of Fyvie and District Amenities Committee were devastated to hear of the passing of vice-chairman Harry Sleigh - a dedicated community stalwart who brought his humour, energy and enthusiasm to the many clubs, groups and committees he served so well.

"His parting leaves a huge void in the backroom of many local organisations, but the privilege of having known and worked with him will live on.

"His cheeky ways, his forthright manner and his unstinting generosity leaves a lasting legacy for the village - which we hope will give his family and friends the strength needed to carry them through life without him.

"He will be greatly missed by all who knew him."

Fyvie, Rothie and Monquhitter Community Council Linda Charles said: "All members of Fyvie, Rothie and Monquhitter Community Council were saddened to hear of the passing of our chairman Harry Sleigh.

"Harry was a dedicated member of the Community Council for many years.

"He did so much for all the communities and his enthusiasm and humour will be sorely missed by all.

"It was a honour and privilege to serve on the council with him.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to all Harrys family and friends at this sad time."

A spokesperson for the Turriff Show Association said: "The Association sends heartfelt condolences to the family of Harry Sleigh who has sadly passed away.

"Harry was a very loyal exhibitor and volunteer for many years at Turriff Show and will be so greatly missed by all who knew him."


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