The family of the late Press and Journal farming editor Joe Watson collected a prestigious award in his honour at NFU Scotland’s annual dinner on Monday night.
The union’s ambassador award was presented to the Watson family on behalf of Joe, who died suddenly at the age of 43 last year.
The award, which was set up in 2009, recognises an individual who has played an important role in communicating the work, challenges and value of Scottish farming and food to a wider audience.
Presenting the award, newly elected president Allan Bowie said: “Joe’s death shocked and saddened the farming community but it is fitting that, as a union, we celebrate and mark Joe’s massive contribution to Scottish food and farming. He achieved an enormous amount but in too short a space of time. It is extremely special that we can share our celebration and this award with Joe’s family.”
He described Joe as an “ambassador for Scottish and British agricultural journalism” and said his drive and passion for his work was unparalleled.
“He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of agricultural and food issues and all their complexities. His work was highly regarded as providing a balanced and informed view and was appreciated in the Press and Journal by both the farming community and the wider readership,” added Mr Bowie.
“By recognising how highly valued Joe’s life and work was, and sharing that with his family, we hope this award goes some way to recognising the deep respect that NFU Scotland and the farming community had for Joe.”
Accepting the award was Joe’s mother Mirren, his brothers Fraser and Murdo, Murdo’s partner Tracey and Joe’s nephew and niece, Joe jnr and Amy.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Murdo Watson said: “It’s a great honour to accept the NFU Scotland ambassador award which you have awarded to Joe.
“Accepting this award makes me enormously proud of his skills but reminds me of the loss we feel daily. We all miss him greatly.”
Press and Journal editor in chief Damian Bates said: “We all miss Joe enormously; he was a wonderful character around the office, great fun to work with and was fearless in his investigations into the farming world.
“Nothing can make up for his loss, but it is really humbling to know that those he sometimes prodded and made sweat have recognised his undoubted talent and commitment – nobody was a greater ambassador for farming in Scotland than Joe and this is a tremendous accolade for all the hard work he put in to report on the sector.”