Tom receives MBE in New Year honours

NINE years of service to Bute Agricultural Society and a host of other island organisations saw Kilchattan Bay man Tom Cromack receive an MBE in the New Year's Honours List.

Tom, who spent nine years as the society's secretary - and received an award at its AGM just before Christmas in recognition of his efforts - worked for the Agricultural Development and Advisory Service in a variety of locations across England for nearly 33 years before retiring to Bute ten years ago with his wife Ellen, who was brought up in Rothesay.

But it took some time for retirement to settle down to a life of leisure - as well as being secretary of the agricultural society, responsible for the organisation of its annual show every August and all its other year-round events, he was also secretary of Bute Vintage Club, the Bute Livestock Group and the local Argyll and the Islands Enterprise working group.

Tom also wrote the official history of Bute Agricultural Society, Ploughing Matches, Ayrshires and Clydesdales, published to mark the society's 200th anniversary in 2006, before finally stepping down from most of his voluntary commitments the following year to take life a little more slowly.

"Surprised and honoured" was how Tom described his reaction to us on Wednesday. On receiving his BAS presentation, meanwhile, he admitted: "I just felt that I should put something back into the industry I'd worked in all my life.

"I felt fit to do it, so if I was wanted I was happy to offer my services."