Orkney sheep farmer hailed as Britain’s “hardest working man”

Billy Muir, who collected his Pride of Britain award on Monday for his  work on North Ronaldsay. PIC. Daily Mirror.
Billy Muir, who collected his Pride of Britain award on Monday for his work on North Ronaldsay. PIC. Daily Mirror.
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An Orkney sheep farmer who holds down 20 jobs across his island has been hailed as Britain’s hardest-working man

Billy Muir keeps a large flock on North Ronaldsay but his other roles include lighthouse keeper, firefighter, electrician,builder rubbish collector and airport worker.

The 67-year-old, from North Ronaldsay, who also shows tourists around the island, was honoured with a Pride of Britain award at a ceremony in London last night (Monday).

Awards organisers described Mr Muir as Britain’s hardest-working man as he picked up a Community Partner award.

The father-of-two said he enjoyed working on the island and had no plans to retire.

“It’s made me very happy,” Mr Muir said.

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He told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “I’ve been the lighthouse keeper at the North Ronaldsay lighthouse for some 47 years.

“I’ve been a firemen on the island for the Scottish Fire and Rescue team for 33 years, and a fireman at North Ronaldsay airfield for about 11 years.

“And I’ve been a contractor on the island for most of my working lifetime.”

Mr Muir added: “I’ve spent most of my life in the lighthouse service and that means a lot to me.

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“It’s something you dedicate yourself to doing as long as you’re able to. There is no retiring age now and that’s the reason I’ve clocked up so many years.

“It’s made me very happy, and it keeps me fit. As long as I keep fit and healthy I’ve got no plans to retire.”

Mr Muir said he and his neighbours on North Ronaldsay relied on each other to keep island life going.

He said: “If you’re a willing hand you get lumbered with the job.

“But we’re a very close-knit community and we rely on each other all the time to keep the island going. The sheep are a major part of that because it takes the whole island to round them up.

“It’s not an easy task to round up 2,500 sheep on a shoreline. We’re like one big family.”

Mr Muir’s wife Isobel, 76, said: “He does a lot of work for the community when I would like him to be doing more work around here.”

But she added: “It’s worth it. I’ve often wondered where the island would be if he didn’t do all those jobs.

“He contributes so much to everything that goes on. It’s an ageing population and he’s one of the people that’s still strong and fit enough to do all this work.”