Top Scots landowner hit by throat cancer

ONE of Scotland's wealthiest landowners is battling cancer, it has been revealed.

The Duke of Roxburghe – whose family estate, Floors Castle, near Kelso, is where Prince Andrew proposed to Sarah Ferguson – has been diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus.

It is understood the duke, who is 55, has been receiving treatment in London. Friends say he is dealing with his illness with "good humour and a positive outlook".

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Reputedly worth 80 million, Sir Guy Innes Ker inherited the estate aged 19, when his father died. Since then he has worked for the 60,000 acre estate which includes a hotel, a championship golf course and 55 farms.

It also has two grouse moors, a racing stud and salmon fishing on the River Tweed.

A friend said: "Guy has undergone his first treatment with chemotherapy. He is determined to conquer it and is going about his daily business as usual, running his livelihood, which is his estate, as he always has."

A spokesman for Roxburghe Estates said: "I can confirm that the duke has been diagnosed with cancer and he will be undergoing a course of treatment over the next few months.

"The specialist medical advice he has received gives him considerable confidence that the course of treatment will be successful.

"He is positive and determined and intends to remain actively involved in the running of the Roxburghe Estates in the coming months."

Despite his illness, the duke is continuing with his plans to develop his country house hotel, the Roxburghe, into a five-star international tourist attraction.

The former manor house was purchased by his father in the 1960s.

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Early this month, the duke was ordered to stop carrying out building work locals said was linked to a wind farm that has not yet been granted planning permission.

Scottish Borders Council wrote to the duke, as well as North British Windpower, after residents spotted work being done to build bridge foundations next to the River Dye. Local residents said the bridges were being put in place to allow access to the site. They said lorry drivers involved in the work had been asking directions to "the wind farm".

Oesophageal cancer is the eighth most prominent cancer and fifth most common in men in Scotland, according to cancer charity Ochre.

Scottish entertainer Jimmy Logan, and actor John Thaw, star of Inspector Morse, also suffered from the disease.

Sir Guy David Innes Ker is the tenth Duke of Roxburghe and a graduate of Sandhurst and Cambridge.

He served for three years in the Blues and Royals before officially taking over the ducal seat, Floors Castle and the Roxburghe Estates.

He opened Floors Castle to the public in 1977, the year he married Lady Jane Grosvenor, sister of Britain's richest aristocrat, the Duke of Westminster.

They divorced in 1990 and the duke remarried in 1992, to the interior designer Virginia Wynne-Williams.

He has five children, including his heir Charles Innes Ker, the Marquess of Bowmont and Cessford.

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