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Long-serving member of staff at Highland estate killed in car accident

Andy Thursby worked at Beaufort Castle for decades
Andy Thursby worked at Beaufort Castle for decades

A long-serving handyman on a Highland estate owned by a transport tycoon has died in a car accident.

Andy Thursby was described as “one of life’s characters” by his boss Ann Gloag of Beaufort Castle near Beauly.

The 76-year-old died in a three-vehicle collision on the A862 Muir of Ord to Conon Bridge road on Hogmanay.

He had worked at Beaufort Castle since the mid-1960s for the Lovat family.

He continued to serve after Stagecoach bus-company founder Mrs Gloag bought the estate in 1995.

He was driving from his home on the estate to Dingwall when the accident happened around one 1pm near Muir of Ord.

Mrs Gloag said: “Andy was like one of the family and we are all deeply saddened by his death .

“He was one of life’s characters and was a very loyal and caring man who will be sorely missed by everyone.”

Mr Thursby worked as a joiner and a handyman around the castle and estate, moving to Beauly after a spell working at the aluminium smelter in Fort William.

He was well known around the local area as an active member of the local Scout group.

Mr Thursby was also well known for helping stage the annual youth variety performance Gang Show at Eden Court.

Mary MacAulay, house manager at Beaufort Castle, paid tribute to her friend and colleague.

She said: “Andy Thursby was a very special man, a living legend.

“He touched so many people’s lives with caring thoughtful ways.

“He was into everything and was such a great character, a unique one-off man.

“His job on paper was handyman and joiner but he was more than that.

“He helped all the tradesmen who came in, be they electricians, painters, plumbers to find a way to make this castle give up its secrets.”

She said that Mr Thursby put his practical abilities to good use for his work at Eden Court as well as performing, including transforming an old wheelchair into a Batmobile.

Ms MacAulay added: “I and everyone on the team here at Beaufort will miss him terribly.”

Meanwhile a man injured after he was hit by a car in Avoch in the early hours of New Year’s Day remains in a “critical” condition in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

Another man who was hit by a taxi on Wednesday morning at Tower Road in Smithton is in a “stable” condition in Raigmore.

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