Obituary: David Rainy-Brown, dog breeder and agricultural expert

Born: 1 March, 1936, in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. Died: 3 November, 2013, in Kelso, aged 77

David Rainy-Brown

There was a large turn-out of the Borders farming, horse-racing and dog-breeding fraternity at the funeral in Kelso of David Rainy-Brown. Mr Rainy-Brown – known as Rainy – was an acknowledged expert on the Aberdeen Angus breed of cattle, an international judge and breeder of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and an enthusiast and knowledgeable supporter of the Berwickshire Hunt, as well as mentor to generations of Border farmers on the nutrition of livestock.

As an adopted Borderer, he absorbed himself in Border life and culture after settling in Kelso in 1962 and, in conjunction with the late Tom Brewis of Eastfield of Lempitlaw, Kelso, was instrumental in the formation in 1968 of the Border Aberdeen Angus Club – the first regional Aberdeen Angus club to be formed – which he served with distinction as secretary for 40 years and later became chairman. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Aberdeen Angus breed and was a kenspeckle figure at the Perth (now Stirling) bull sales which, until his recent illness, he never missed. His advice on breeding matters and pedigrees was much sought after by breeders throughout the country who valued his deep knowledge of the breed.

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He also represented the Borders on the council of the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society and served a period as chairman of the society’s publicity and export committee.

Although born in Hertfordshire, where his father managed a subsidiary of the family’s pharmaceutical business, J F Macfarlane, Rainy spent part of his childhood during the Second World War on his grandfather’s farm on Speyside which sparked his interest in the Aberdeen Angus breed.

He won a scholarship to Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh where he excelled in athletics, being a mile runner of some distinction. After two years of National Service in the Royal Artillery, he won a place at Christ’s College, Cambridge – his father’s old college – where he gained an Honours Degree in Natural Sciences.

Following a short spell with ICI, he joined the animal feed business of John Hogarth, Kelso Mills, where he was to remain until retiring in the mid-1990s. He became a highly respected figure in Borders farming and, as technical director of the company, his advice on animal nutrition was greatly valued by farmers.

In his early days, he also coached the Ednam young farmers’ team, including such luminaries as Ron Wilson, Jim Fullerton and George Forbes, in the art of speech-making. He was also a fiercely competitive squash player.

His interest in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels stemmed from his father, who bred and showed bull terriers and a request from a friend to find her a spaniel.

He bred and showed the breed with considerable success and judged at many prestigious shows, including Crufts in 1984 and also in the USA, Sweden and Australia. He became a valued committee member and later chairman of the Scottish Cavalier Club.

He was a stalwart of the Borders point-to-point scene as one-time chairman of the Berwickshire Hunt Supporters Club and treasurer of the point-to-point at Friarshaugh. He attended meetings far and wide and became an acknowledged form guide expert for the local courses.

His other interests included gardening, photography and bridge and he was a former chairman of both Kelso Agricultural Discussion Society and Kelso Conservatives. He was deeply involved in the life of Ednam Kirk, where he was an active elder for many years, and made a significant contribution to the kirk’s 800th anniversary celebrations.

Although unmarried, he was at heart a family man and took his responsibilities as the eldest of five brothers very seriously, including a keen interest in the activities of his nieces and nephews.

Rainy was predeceased by two of his brothers, Edward, who was chief executive of NFU Scotland at the time of his death ten years ago, and James, who died only recently after a distinguished career as a teacher at Merchiston, and is survived by John and Nicol.

Rainy considered himself lucky to have found his niche in the Borders but, in a fitting eulogy at his funeral, his long-term friend, Robert Dick, of Otterburn Farm, Kelso, put it another way: “How lucky we all were that Rainy settled in the Borders.”