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Unsung hero award marks Maud farmer's commitment to agriculture

By David Porter

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An international audience joined local members of the National Farming Union Scotland's North East Region on Thursday evening for the announcement of this year's Unsung Hero award.

Andrew Connon with Ian Pirie and Hamish Garland
Andrew Connon with Ian Pirie and Hamish Garland

The presentation is normally carried out at Turriff Show, but with the cancellation of the event this year, it was decided to take the presentation online.

Host Alan Simpson welcomed NFU president Andrew McCornick who reflected on the nature of this award and gave his own take on the history of previous winners who have included Charlie Allan, Eddie Gillanders, Kevin Gilbert and Bob Hay.

Former winners joined with locals and included 2015 winner Neil McCrae formerly of Dudwick Farm near Ellon who joined the meeting from his new farm in southern France.

Chairman of the north-east region Andrew Connon was joined by vice-chairman Hamish Garland who broadcast live as they arrived at recipient Ian Pirie's home at Overton of Bruxie near Maud.

Andrew McCornick commenting as they arrived said: "This year’s recipient has been at the forefront of many battles and has done a power of lobbying amongst fellow members and stakeholders, to try to improve farming issues.

"This member is never afraid to express opinion and share knowledge, and certainly adds a heck of a lot of value to debates and discussions.

"He took over the running of the family farm from his parents at a young age.

"His interest in cattle is as strong now as it was when he started out in farming, the main principle being to buy good store cattle and make a good job of finishing them.

"The farm has grown over the years with various acquisitions and Ian is also actively involved in the local village of Maud, where he is the current director of Maud Village Trust.

"The Trust was set up and was able to buy the Old Mart which has been redeveloped and turned into a community resource centres, business units and community cafe.

"In addition, Ian has had a massive influence on New Deer show as a committee member and as a convenor of YFC stock judging."

The Angela Davidson print
The Angela Davidson print

He continued: "He has been an active member of the New Deer NFU branch, including as chairman and has put a massive effort and dedication into the role over the years.

"On the regional board he has been the livestock finishing chairman until he retired from this in January 2020.

"A no messing about approach has always been his hallmark, if it needs doing, do it, he gets stuck.

"Iain, you have given the agricutural community, your local community and the NFU community great service and I am delighted to award the Unsung Hero award 2020 to you."

The award included a bottle of whisky and an Angela Davidson limited edition print called Contentment.

Commenting on his award, Mr Pirie said: "I have to take the NFU for this award and it's an honour to be recognised for my involvement."

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