Sandy May, one of the Scotland’s most enthusiastic and dedicated champions of the Doric has died aged 76.
He was awarded an MBE for promoting the culture, language and heritage of the North East of Scotland. Sandy, together with his his wife Vi, spent many years upholding and encouraging their culture in and around Buchan.
Alexander (Sandy) May was born in Longside to farmworker John May and his wife Chrissie.
He was educated at Central School, Peterhead, and then Peterhead Academy.
As a teenager, every weekend he would cycle from Peterhead to South Linshart, Longside, where he worked on the farm with his uncle, Jim Finnie.
On leaving school he moved to Linshart where he worked full time on the farm
In his early 20s he moved to haulage and construction for a short time before going to work at Auchlee Farm, Longside, until 1983, when he joined CHAP Construction.
Sandy rose to become health and safety manager for the firm and retired in 2010.
He was raised speaking Doric. Sandy and Vi, who married in 1970 at Kincardine o’ Neil, have a daughter Pauline, son Stuart, and two grandsons Nathan and Matthew and have continued to speak the language daily and have encouraged their family in keeping the tradition alive.
Sandy was passionate, not just about the linguistic and musical heritage of the North East but its landscape, archaeology and its people.
Together with his wife, he began researching family history in the pre-internet days. Soon Sandy became established as an authority on local genealogy, a hobby that became easier when records were digitised. He spent countless hours helping people across the world trace their Buchan roots
He was also a community councillor in Longside for 50 years, much of that time as chairman.
As the millennium approached, Sandy, Vi, Gordon Hay and a small committee along with the support of the local community published, Longside a Parish and its People, a history of the parish from 1620 and, apart from his family, this was one of his proudest achievement.
For 13 years, Sandy was chairman of Buchan Heritage Society, and helped organise monthly concerts in village halls across the North East and, together with Vi, was one of the driving forces behind Strichen Festival.
He also obtained funding to help digitise the Morrison Collection of glass plate negatives that had been found in a blocked up cupboard in a house at Belhelvie. They had been taken in the late 1800s by James Morrison and depicted rural life in the area.
He had been at the helm of Buchan Field Club for the past 13 years and in 2012, Sandy was instrumental in securing a coat of arms from the Lord Lyon for the club on their 125th anniversary.
Sandy will be remembered by generations of Buchan people for his tireless promotion of Doric in schools, at festivals and through the music and culture of the area.