Ford and Etal forestry staff given long-service awards
More than 500 years of service on farms in the Borders and north Northumberland was marked at a special event hosted by the Border Union Agricultural Society (BUAS).
The event was the BUAS biennial lunch when 172 people were present in Springwood Hall, Kelso, for the presentation of certificates and medals for long service for farm workers with society chairman Douglas Stephen in the chair.
To qualify for such an award, a person must have been in full-time employment either on one farm or with one employer.
There are three categories of awards – the completion of 30, 40 and 50 years service.
There were 15 recipients. The longest serving recipient was Derek Bickerton for 51 years of service at New Etal, Cornhill, for Hon. Andrew Joicey.
On this occasion, there was also a third generation medallist – Ian Cockburn, of Kames Estates – while David Renwick, of Eastfield of Lempitlaw, was following in the footsteps of his father Jake in receiving an award.
At other lunches there have been brothers receiving awards but this was the first time a father and son, Jock and Bruce Souter, of Bowland Estates, had received awards on the same day and indeed from the same farm.
The awards were presented by The Duke of Roxburghe, president of the BUAS.
The principal speaker at the lunch was Nigel Miller, BVM&S, MRCVS, Stagehall, Stow, who proposed the toast to the medallists.
John Elliot, of Roxburgh Mains, Kelso, replied on behalf of the medallists and proposed the toast to the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), which provided the certificates and medals.
William Gill, chairman RHASS, Rosskeen, Invergordon replied on behalf of RHASS.
Since 1944, there have been 633 recipients through BUAS with a total of 22,126 years service, an average of 35 years.
Recipients were – 51 years: Derek Bickerton, New Etal, Cornhill. 41 years: Robert Scott, Crailinghall, Jedburgh. 40 years: Nicolas Renton, Park, Earlston. 34 years: David Renwick, Eastfield of Lempitlaw, Kelso. 33 years: Derrick Anderson, Eastfield of Lempitlaw, Kelso. 32 years: David McTaggart, Ormiston, Hawick. 31 years: Victor Brown, Adderston Shiels, Hawick; John Souter, Bowland Estates, Galashiels. 30 years: Allan Ainslie, Newmills, Lauder; Walter Aitchison, Humebyres, Kelso; Ian Cockburn, Kames Estates, Duns; Alistair Dickson, Broadmeandows, Hutton; David Dickson, Greenlees, Kelso; Geoffrey Portsmouth, Caverton Mill, Kelso; Bruce Souter, Bowland Estates, Galashiels.
In addition, there were long-service awards from the Royal Forestry Society for five men from Ford and Etal Estates. They were: Colin Turnbull; Alan Whittle; John Doherty; Brian Thompson; and Stephen Fairnington.
On the Ford and Etal Estate, around 650 hectares is given over to commercial forestry and amenity woodland.
The forestry department is responsible for the planting, thinning and felling of trees and the maintenance of fences, gates and stiles around the estate.