Sandy Mutch, a Second World War commando, whose later years were spent at the heart of the Mintlaw community, died on Christmas Eve aged 100.
He was a trustee of Mintlaw Hall and the village pleasure park and together with his wife, Flora, raised funds through what became known as Mintlaw Shopee.
He had spent his career balancing full-time jobs in the cereal and meat industries with crofting and animal husbandry.
After spending the post-war years in the Midlands of England, Sandy and Flora returned to the north-east to take over Bruxiehill Croft at Rathen before retiring to Mintlaw in 1982.
He was born in Aberdeen maternity hospital in April 1923 to Alexander (Sunny) Mutch and his wife, Mabel, the eldest son of nine children.
The family worked the land at Hill of Forest, Rathen, where he went to school and helped his father hunt in Cortes Woods.
At 13 he left school and started working at Crimonmogate mill where he worked mostly unsupervised grinding grain, then aged 15, was asked to take over at Watermill Fraserburgh and be responsible for both.
Sandy had been a member of the Territorial Army and when he was 16 in 1939, his drill sergeant encouraged him to enlist in the army.
His son, Ron, said: “He did his basic training in the Brechin area and here he was noted for his strength and aptitude and was selected to join the commandos and underwent lengthy training all over Scotland and abroad.
“He was posted to the Mediterranean where he served in different countries. On Tuesday May 7 1945 their captain came to tell them that the war would be over next day but not to say anything until then.
“Early the following morning, my father and a friend commandeered the local fire engine and also a Union Jack and drove round Famagusta in Cyprus waving the flag and ringing the bell shouting the war is over. The flag still survives.”
It was during leave that Sandy met his future wife, Flora Yule, at a dance in Lonmay hall and they married on October 10 1945.
They welcomed daughters Joyce and Ailsa and then he moved to Brixworth, Northamptonshire, where Sandy worked in the grain and animal feed business and where son, Ron, was born.
Next the couple bought Snappers Knowe a small farm near Derby where they began rearing pigs, geese, ducks, chickens and turkeys.
In 1962, as their parents grew older, Sandy and Flora packed two cattle trucks with their animals and arrived at their new home in Rathen one January morning.
Sandy began work at Mitchells of Fraserburgh while turning the croft into a piggery, supplying Lawson of Dyce.
He then moved to Buchan Meat in Peterhead, working long hours while running the croft but still fitting in family time and holidays abroad.
“My father had a work ethic; if it needed doing he just did it. He built sheds and rooms on the house. There was nothing he couldn’t do he as he had big hands and a strong body to cope with whatever needed doing.”
In 2017, Flora died after 71 years of married life but Sandy was able to remain in his own home where he celebrated his 100th birthday with family and enjoyed a plate of fish and chips.
Ron added: “He was a caring family man with a sense of humour and a smile who would do and did anything he could to help his family. He touched the lives of so many people and even to the last would ask how people were.”
You can read the family’s announcement here.