A “true stalwart” of the north-east agricultural community has been named winner of this year’s Royal Northern Agricultural Society (RNAS) local award.
The award, which is sponsored by Aberdeen and Northern Marts, is presented to an individual in recognition of their services to local communities and specialist farming organisations or groups.
This year’s recipient – Alison Argo of Auchcairnie, Laurencekirk – has been contributing to all three for more than 30 years.
Mrs Argo, who is currently RNAS secretary, grew up on a farm in Tarves and moved to Laurencekirk after marrying husband Ian in 1979.
Prior to moving to the 400-acre family farm, which her husband and son Steven run, Mrs Argo studied home economics at the then Queen Margaret College in Edinburgh.
After graduating she worked in Aberdeen for a year as a proficiency test organiser for the Scottish Association of Young Farmers’ Clubs, and then at the RAF base at Edzell altering uniforms.
After the birth of the couple’s first child, Gillian, in 1980, Mrs Argo stopped work and focused on bringing up her children and helping on the farm.
It was during this spell, when her other two children, Steven and Leigh, were born, that her involvement with the local community began.
She has been involved with the Scottish Women’s Rural Institute (SWRI) since moving to the farm and has served as both junior and senior vice-chairwoman as well as convener of the handicrafts and education committees.
Mrs Argo is also a well-known face at the Fettercairn Farmers’ Club, which organises the Fettercairn Show. She has previously served as club chairwoman and is currently club treasurer.
The family farm operated a soft fruit growing enterprise up until around six years ago and during this time Mrs Argo got involved with agri-politics, representing the north region on NFU Scotland’s soft fruits committee.
Mrs Argo: “I just get involved. If you want to do it you will manage to make time.”
Away from farming, Mrs Argo enjoys working with children and she has been a Brownie Guider at Fettercairn Brownies since 1995 and served as arts adviser for Kincardine and Deeside Guides for six years prior to that.
She also spent a spell working with disabled young adults and said this was the most enjoyable job she has ever done.
In addition, Mrs Argo is an elder and treasurer at West Mearns Parish Church.
When she isn’t busy fulfilling the duties of her various positions, Mrs Argo enjoys nothing more than spending time with her four grandchildren – Josh, Abi, Scott, Charlie. Another is due any day soon.
A citation for the award describes Mrs Argo as someone who “does not do things by half”.
It states: “Many people who are involved with organisations or events will help out now and again, or maybe go as far as joining the committee. Alison really gets ‘stuck-in’ and isn’t afraid to take on hard work if it means helping to preserve and advance such important organisations. She is a born organiser who doesn’t appear to sleep. She will do anything to help anyone – nothing is too much trouble.”
It goes on to describe Mrs Argo as a “fantastic role model for young people” and a “true stalwart of the industry”.
Mrs Argo will be presented with her award at an awards lunch on Friday, November 4, at the Jury’s Inn (formerly the Thistle Hotel) at Aberdeen Airport. A very limited number of tickets are still available. Tickets cost £25 and are available from RNAS secretary Mrs Argo. They can be obtained by calling her on 07714899628 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org