North rugby correspondent Jack Nixon admitted he was stunned when many of the clubs in the Caledonia area came together to mark his 80th birthday.
Nixon, who has written for The Press and Journal since 1996, received a surprise presentation in his hometown of Ellon and given an engraved wine decanter and a custom-made card to mark the milestone.
The socially-distanced presentation was made by Aberdeen Grammar’s immediate past-president Jim Rae, who said: “Jack’s dedication and support for the club game is a beacon in an era when professional rugby, marketing and money have come to dominate. Week after week he travels to games in the district from Caithness to Dundee.
“It was great to have all the clubs come together like this to appreciate one of its great servants. It shows the spirit and ethos of rugby in the Caledonia area.”
Representatives from Aberdeenshire, Ross Sutherland, Garioch, Caithness, Highland, Mackie and Fraserburgh along with many others sent messages to mark the special occasion.
Nixon said: “I was in absolute shock and very overwhelmed.
“It was very nice of the clubs to come together like that.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed covering rugby for the past 24 years.
“I have always tried to promote local rugby and I’m very fortunate to have so many good clubs to deal with.
“I was contemplating hanging up the notepad and pen at the end of the 2019-20 season once I had turned 80 but with the season being cut short unexpectedly I would like to see it through to the next stage and maybe try to make it to 25 years of reporting.”
A potential restart date for club rugby in Scotland remains unclear but Nixon is optimistic games will be played before the end of the year.
He added: “We are in an unprecedented situation but it is making people realise how important sport is in their lives.
“I have a feeling there may be a resurgence in the amateur game once we have returned to some sort of normality.
“I’m hopeful we will have club rugby games back by autumn and the game may return stronger for it.”