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Stonehaven’s Charles McHardy, who was UK’s top butcher, dies aged 78

Charles McHardy.

Charles McHardy, who was named Britain’s top butcher after winning a clutch of Scottish awards, has died aged 78.

His shop in Market Square, Stonehaven, was regularly queued out the door and also became a magnet for tourists and fellow butchers visiting from abroad.

Charles, known as Charlie, retired in 2005 from the business his grandfather founded in the town in 1907.

He was held in great affection in Stonehaven where he was involved in many organisations including the Rotary and Probus Clubs.

In his youth, Charlie played football for his school, then Montrose Vics and in later life was a keen salmon fisher, walker and Dons fan.

He was born in 1943 and his childhood home was at Keith Place.

Charles McHardy’s grandfather outside his butcher shop in Stonehaven.

Charlie’s father ran the family butcher’s shop which was at The Cross. In the late 1960s it was relocated to Barclay Street before the move to Market Square in 1975 when Charlie took ownership of the business.

Under the stewardship of Charlie and his brother Kenneth, who died in 1999, the shop became known for its innovative products. Their haggis had a worldwide following and the brothers shipped them around the world for Burns Night celebrations.

Accolades

From 1994 to 1996, Charles McHardy won Scotland’s top butcher award and in 1997 was named Britain’s top butcher at a glittering ceremony in London.

Following this title win, Charles opened his shop to welcome a party of Dutch butchers, and also regularly hosted visits by school groups.

He also devoted time to supporting the talking newspaper and was a regular speaker at SWRIs throughout the Mearns.

Charlie had married his childhood sweetheart, Lyn, in 1964 and moved to a new home in Woodcot Park. Lyn died in 2018 and their daughter, Dawn, said it was a blow her father never recovered from.

Charlie and Lyn McHardy.

Dawn said: “He was more than a successful retailer. He was a truly contented local who cherished his roots in Stonehaven.

“Despite the loss of his mother when he was just 10 years old, the young Charlie enjoyed a full and active life.

“He was a keen footballer, playing for both his school and Montrose Vics, he was a member of the Air Training Corps and he was a keen salmon fisherman with Gustave De Jonckheere.

Charles McHardy just before he retired.

“And even to the last, when he was being treated in the intensive care unit of ARI for complications following a Covid infection, he was regaling the nurses with tales of Stonehaven – the town he loved.”

Charles McHardy is survived by his sister Jean, his daughter Dawn, son-in-law Robert Swanson, grandson Blair and his wife Erinne, and great-granddaughters Bronte, Blythe and Romilly.

His funeral will take place on Tuesday, February 1.

You can read the family’s announcement here.

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