Tributes have been paid to a popular Moray farmer and butcher who was found dead following a police search.
Alexander Gibson, who was known as Michael, owned Edinvale farm at Dallas and ran Macbeth’s butchers in Forres with his son Jock.
Mr Gibson was last seen on Thursday afternoon cycling along the B9010 road between Elgin and the village.
The worried family of the 63-year-old cattle breeder reported Mr Gibson missing on Friday evening.
Following an extensive search of the area using tracker dogs his body was discovered on Saturday morning, between Dallas and Kellas.
Police confirmed that there was no foul play suspected and Mr Gibson’s family said they believe he died of natural causes.
Yesterday the man’s son, Jock Gibson, said the “well kent” farmer would be sorely missed by the community.
Mr Gibson, 35, said: “My dad farmed here since the mid-1970s, and was well-known as a local businessman and a very well-kent face around the area.
“He was born in Glasgow in 1952, and lived in Moray since the early 1960s.
“My dad was into shooting and skiing and generally loved being outdoors, he will be very missed.”
Mr Gibson was a past president of the Highland Cattle Society and former chairman Agricultural Committee of the Scottish Landowners Federation.
He was also elected to the inaugural board of the Food Standards Agency in 2000.
Over the past 30 years, Mr Gibson developed a reputation as one of the area’s most respected cattle breeders and was awarded a CBE in 2006.
Last night, Moray MSP Richard Lochhead, cabinet secretary for rural affairs, yesterday paid tribute to the popular figure who was “passionate” about his work.
Mr Lochhead said: “I am shocked to hear this very sad news and I know the local community will be too.
“I was chatting to Michael as recently as the Dallas gala and he was on fine form and in his usual good humour.
“You would often come across Michael working alongside his son Jock running their well known butcher business, Macbeth’s, either at the shop in Forres or at shows and events around Scotland.
“Not only was Michael a constituent of mine but we often met each other over the years in my capacity as cabinet secretary for rural affairs, food and environment, as he served on various public bodies.
“I recall he always brought tremendous enthusiasm and strove for excellence, qualities that were of course reflected in his own family businesses in Moray.
“He very much wanted to support farming and rural Scotland and he cared passionately about the many causes in which he took a close interest.
“Michael will be sorely missed and I offer my condolences to his family and friends.”
A police spokesman yesterday added: “We can confirm that as part of searches made in order to trace Alexander Gibson, known as Michael Gibson, from Dallas in Moray the body of a man was found near to the B9010, Dallas to Kellas road on Saturday morning.
“The body has subsequently been formally identified as that of Mr Gibson.
“His death is not being treated as suspicious and as with all sudden deaths a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”
Mr Gibson gave up a career in accountancy to purchase the small farm in 1974, beginning with only two Highland cows.
He developed the butcher and game dealer Macbeth’s, in Forres, in 1985 using stock reared at the Dallas site.
That year his son Jock joined him in running Macbeth’s butchers.
Mr Gibson’s wife, Susan, played a crucial role in developing the business at Edinvale, until her death last year.
Mr Gibson leaves behind son Jock, 35, daughter Bridget, 34, and a grand-daughter.