Tributes paid to “lad o’ pairts”, Ian Matthew

Inverurie’s St Andrews Parish Church was packed with 350 mourners for the funeral of well-known North-east stockman and “lad o’ pairts”, Ian Matthew, who died on June 17 aged 71, only four months after being diagnosed with several brain tumours.

Ian Matthew with the champion Charolais bull at the Royal Northern Spring Show in 2014
Ian Matthew with the champion Charolais bull at the Royal Northern Spring Show in 2014

The large attendance at his funeral was a tribute to the respect and popularity in which he was held in the farming community and for the help and advice he so willingly gave over the years to those in the business of showing livestock for show and sale.

Brought up on the family farm of Flowerybrae, Strichen, he honed his livestock skills in the young farmers’ movement where he gained his master craftsman certificate and other qualifications.

It was also through young farmers that he met his wife, Brenda, marrying in 1972 at Echt and setting up home at Waterside, Memsie, where daughters, Shona and Ann came along in 1974 and 1977. The farm was part of the family farming enterprise and Ian worked on the farm as well as having a part-time job with Aberdeen and Northern Marts at Maud and Aberdeen marts.

He decided to leave the family farm in 1980 to concentrate on his passion of bringing out show cattle, working with Neil Barclay’s Charolais herd at Harestone, Banchory, where his successes included showing the overall championship at Turriff Show and later with the late Miss Mary Durno’s Uppermill Beef Shorthorn herd at Tarves, where he enjoyed success at the Perth bull sales and at the Royal Highland Show and the Royal Show in England.

The move to Inverurie came in 2001 when Ian decided to become a freelance stockman, working for many pedigree herds on a regular basis, notably Hamish and Margaret Sclater’s Deveron Aberdeen-Angus herd at Denhead of Dunlugas, Turriff, as well as working part-time on sale days at Thainstone Mart.

Despite an adversity to travel, he became known as the “Flying Stockman” when he was invited by Susan and Henry Widdicombe, to prepare the bulls from their Starline Simmental herd near Exeter for the Stirling bull sales after Henry was injured. Ian would fly down to Devon for a few weeks before the sale to halter-train the bulls and dress them for showing before bringing them up to Stirling for the sales.

He also travelled to Orkney to help the late John Hepburn and his daughter, Phyllis Harcus, to show cattle from their Aberdeen-Angus herds at the Orkney summer shows and in more recent times helped David Watson prepare bulls for sale from his Salers herd at Darnford, Durris.

He was widely known and had a particular skill in making halters and was latterly selling more than 400 halters a year to livestock exhibitors all over the country. He devised a special halter for Highland cattle to accommodate the horns and was particularly pleased when he and Brenda joined a visit to Finland with the Highland Cattle Club to find his halters being used by one of the Highlands folds visited.

His skill in rope-making and halter-making goes back to his days in young farmers and he

passed on his skills to many other farmers and stockmen and women, greatly enjoying the experience and taking great pride in working with and teaching the younger generation.

Ian was very much a family man and very proud of Shona and Ann and what they have achieved in life, taking great pride in walking them down the aisle, and being a devoted granda to grand-children, Scott and Gillian.

Nothing was ever too much trouble for Ian and he will be greatly missed by his family and wide circle of friends throughout Scotland and beyond.