A north-east farmer was last night “shocked and shattered” to discover he had named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.
Alistair Strachan has spent his whole life farming and offering a helping hand in the tiny rural community of Cuminestown, near Turriff.
And now he will is to be recognised for all his efforts and will head into 2017 as an MBE.
The humble potato grower, 73, who has twice represented his village as an elected councillor, described the gong as a nice surprise – but was one that he owed entirely to the devotion of his wife, Evelyn.
The pair have been married for more than 50 years and Mr Strachan can still recall the countless nights his wife would have to wait at home while he was fulfilling his duties, either as a councillor or a representative of the National Farmers’ Union, of which he served as area president.
“This award is for my wife,” he said.
“The two of us have done everything together, and without her support I couldn’t have done anything that I’ve done.
“She was always left at home if I was ever at meetings – and she even had to do a lambing one season because I wasn’t there.”
Together, the pair have two children, Andrew and Alison, and four grandchildren.
And heading into retirement, Mr Strachan has started to walk away from the business – which is now run by his son – to spend more time with his loved ones.
“I’ve represented the Scottish seed potato industry in London several times, and was on the potato development council for years – but I’m starting to wind down these days,” he said.
“But I’m still active in the community, helping to make sure things are ticking over.
“I’ve been the session clerk of the local church for more than 40 years, and was the chairman of our local play park for a number of years.”
Mr Strachan has also been involved in the local school board and offered his help, where he can, with the running of events.
He joked: “I’m quite a familiar face, really.
“Everybody sort of comes to me if they want to know anything.”
Mr Strachan was made an MBE for his services to farming and the community of Cuminestown.