A celebrated north east radio host, musician and Doric polymath was yesterday given a lifetime achievement award for his years of charity service.
Veteran Highland games commentator and Press and Journal columnist, Robbie Shepherd, was named an honorary life member of Aberdeen-based social care charity VSA yesterday afternoon.
He was given the accolade during the charity’s annual general meeting at Aberdeen City Council’s Town House.
Mr Shepherd, 78, made an emotional speech at the VSA’s meeting after being awarded a silver Quiach to mark the occasion.
Before taking to the floor, Mr Shepherd was hailed a “local hero and national treasure” by VSA honorary president, Dr Fiona Kennedy.
Mr Shepherd has been volunteering at VSA’s Eastern Anguston Farm, near Culter, since it was first established.
However, he was quick to shine the spotlight on the VSA’s committed team of grafters, paying tribute to the farm’s dedicated work force.
Mr Shepherd said: “Me being me, I found it difficult to speak there, but it’s an honour shared with the staff at Easter Anguston as far as I’m concerned. I haven’t got the everyday input they have, they must have testing times.
“It must have been about 40 years ago that I started with the VSA, I was there when it started really. I must have been there to open something and then I got involved every year with their annual prize-giving.”
Born in Dunecht, Mr Shepherd is regarded as a figurehead of north east culture, with an unparalleled knowledge of the Doric dialect.
He began his career as a musician – his instrument being the mouth organ, or “moothie” – and received an MBE in the 2001 New Year Honours roll for services to Scottish dance music and culture.
The 70-acre Easter Anguston farm, which is open to the public, is a training facility that teaches people with disabilities how to work in a farm environment.
It also gives them training in horticulture, conservation, rural skills and catering.
Mr Shepherd added: “I know most of the guys by their first name now, the main thing I do is the prize-giving and of course it does help that they are listening to the radio and they make comments about it when I go out.
“During the week I just go out and spend a wee while, and look around, just seeing the changes, because every year brings new attractions to the farm. There’s always an awful lot being done.”