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George Norrie, former Turriff farmer and conservationist, dies aged 94

George Norrie..

Former farmer, innovator and company director, Alexander George Norrie, of Turriff, has died aged 94.

Known as George, he was made an MBE in 1993 for his services to conservation, achieved a record price for a tonne of seed potatoes in 1977, was a pig breeder of note and an accomplished musician.

For 12 years George was a director of Buchan Meat and started a helicopter crop-spraying business in the 1980s.


George and his wife Jean, nee Gaul, of Wrae, celebrated 70 years of marriage in August this year.

He was born at Cairnhill, Turriff, in February, 1927, the third child of Alex and Maisie Norrie.

George’s early schooling was at Cuminestown, then Turriff Academy, where he met Jean, and then Aberdeen University.

Young farmers

Jean and George got to know each other better through young farmers’ events and went on to marry at King’s College, Aberdeen, in 1951.

In 1952, their son Sandy was born, followed two years later by Andrew.

The family made their home at the mixed arable farm of Slackadale, Turriff, in 1951 until 1990 when they retired to The Elms, Turriff, before moving to Macdhui on Banff Road.

In his early years at the farm, George was a skilled pig breeder and showed his animals at agricultural shows, often in competition with his brother William.


He was also a skilled violinist and played with Macduff Strathspey and Reel Society and at the Fiddlers’ Rally in Aberdeen.

George was active in the NFU, supportive of the young farmers’ movement and a Rotarian who hosted visits from fellow club members from Norway and Denmark.

He developed an interest in potatoes while at school, later attended a roguers’ course at Craibstone and qualified as a potato inspector.

Seed potatoes

In his first year in partnership with his father at Slackadale he planted eight acres of seed potatoes.

By 1977, he claimed a record price of £5,700 for a tonne of desiree potatoes.

He was a pioneer of aerial crop spraying in the area during the 1980s, and in 1990, received two top honours at the Royal Northern Agricultural Society awards ceremony: for services to agriculture, and The Press and Journal Shield for his conservation efforts and his contribution to agriculture.


George was a member of Turriff Curling Club and a keen fisherman who constructed lakes at Slackadale and Wrae.

For many years he served as an elder and office bearer at St Andrew’s Church, Turriff. He was a grandfather and great-grandfather.

You can read the family’s announcement here.

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