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Ballater Highland Games chieftain to step down at 102 years old

Captain Alwyne Farquharson, Chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games.
Picture by KENNY ELRICK     09/08/2018
Captain Alwyne Farquharson, Chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games. Picture by KENNY ELRICK 09/08/2018

The war hero chieftain of the Ballater Highland Games will step down from the role after 73 years at the age of 102.

Captain Alwyne Farquharson, the 16th laird of Invercauld, will pass the mantle to his 40-year-old great nephew Philip Farquharson on May 1, his 102nd birthday.

The captain, who was awarded the Military Cross for his role in the Normandy Landings, received a standing ovation when he arrived at the 2019 Ballater Highland Games in his 71st year as chieftain.

He now lives in Norfolk, and prior to the pandemic he would travel north to Aberdeenshire every year for a number of engagements, including the annual gathering at Braemar, home of Braemar Castle, the seat of Clan Farquharson.

The younger Farquharson will be chieftain of this year’s Ballater Highland Games, in whatever form it takes.

Although last year’s event was held digitally, a decision has not yet been made on the 2021 event.

Many other games being called off across Scotland this summer.

To mark what would have been the start of the games last year, Philip Farquharson represented the long-serving chieftain at a socially-distanced raising of the Games Standard on the Monaltrie Park grounds.

Scott Fraser, vice-chairman of the Ballater Highland Games, paid tribute to Captain Farquharson’s more than seven decades of commitment to the event.

He said: “Captain Farquharson is 102 on his birthday on May 1, and he’s decided to stand down from being chieftain mainly because he’s not so fit, and the last thing he wants is to be wheeled on to the games park and other events.

“So he decided he was going to step back. His great nephew Philip Farquharson stood in for Alwyn at our virtual 2020 Vision one last year.

“As far as we know, he’s the longest-serving chieftain of any highland games.

“Philip will officially become the new chieftain when Alwyne stands down on his birthday.”

 

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