A Moray-born football coach who inspired generations of young talent has died suddenly in New Zealand.
Malcolm Cowie, who was originally from Buckie, was named a member of his adopted homeland’s royal Order of Merit last year to recognise his 30 years of devotion to training aspiring players.
The 71-year-old served as chairman of New Zealand Secondary School Football (NZSS) for 18 years before being named patron when he stepped down in 2013.
During his reign the number of teams competing across the country nearly doubled from about 70 to 136.
Mr Cowie emigrated from Moray with his wife Norma and three daughters Lissa, Rebecca and Hannah in 1988.
However, before leaving to begin his new life in the southern hemisphere he also left his mark on aspiring youngsters in his native north-east as a PE teacher at Speyside High School in Aberlour.
His talent on the field had earlier led him to a distinguished career in the Highland League while representing his hometown with Buckie Thistle as well as playing for Peterhead, Caledonian, Nairn County and Keith before continuing in the dugout as manager of Elgin City.
The opportunity to coach the North Shore football team in what was New Zealand’s highest division at the time encouraged him and his family to move overseas.
He also continued his role in the classroom by joining the Saint Kentigern school in Auckland as a PE teacher while also coaching the college’s various football teams, which he remained involved with until his death.
During his time with the NZSS he led representative sides of the country’s best young talent on tours of Europe, Korea and Australia.
Tributes in his adopted homeland have praised his “positive attitude, enthusiasm and strong management” for growing football at secondary school level across the country.