Turriff Show president dies after grain silo fall

ONE of Scotland’s best-known farmers has died after falling into a grain storage tank at his farm in Aberdeenshire.

Farmer Bruce Ferguson presenting a prize to Lorna Gilbert at Turriff Show. Picture: Newsline Media
Farmer Bruce Ferguson presenting a prize to Lorna Gilbert at Turriff Show. Picture: Newsline Media

Bruce Ferguson, the former president of the Turriff Show – an annual two-day celebration of agriculture and the food industry – was found dead on Saturday afternoon by his son Andrew at Ardmiddle Mains Farm, near Turriff.

Last summer Mr Ferguson had escorted the Queen round Turriff Show which was celebrating its 150th anniversary and yesterday tributes were led by the former first minister Alex Salmond, the MSP for Aberdeenshire East who said his death was a “real blow” not just for farming but the whole Turriff ­community.

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The father-of-two and his wife Kate had been looking forward to their 30-year-old son Andrew’s wedding to his fiancée Amy in June.

Mr Ferguson, 61, met the Queen in August when he drove the monarch around the showground in front of 28,000 ­people.

The Queen had seen some of her cattle from the royal estate at Balmoral exhibited and presented the top accolade of Champion of Champions.

Yesterday, Helen Paterson, the secretary of the Turriff Show paid tribute to the hard-working and “dedicated” event organiser who had been involved in the show for most of his life.

She said: “While he was still at school he worked in the secretary’s office helping the then ­secretary Jimmy Clark and his wife Margaret and then he continued to work at the show as a student.

“Then Bruce’s father Ian was president of the show in 1969 and he helped alongside him in the show field. Bruce was 16 at that time.

“He worked for the show for many years, working for the committee later on and then taking over as show treasurer.”

Ms Paterson said the keen curler was voted in as president for the 150th anniversary because of his dedication and hard work and organised the royal visit himself.

She said: “He had approached the Lord Lieutenant of Aberdeenshire a few years ago in connection with having a royal visit at the show for the 150th anniversary not thinking that it would actually be the Queen herself who would come along.

“He went for the top and he got the top. His hard work was honoured by the Queen coming along.

“He was always ready to help and he was a truly dedicated, well respected member of the association as well as the community for all the many things that he did. He was a really nice person and a real gentleman. Everyone is so shocked and upset. It will be a great loss to all who knew him.”

The Turriff Show is organised by the Turriff District Agricultural Association and is the largest two-day show in Scotland. It was set up to help promote the agricultural and food industries in the north-east.

Mr Ferguson was also a member of the Turriff Rotary Club and was club secretary of the local curling club.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Along with other emergency services we attended at Ardmiddle Mains, Turriff, at 4.15pm on Saturday following the sudden death of a 61-year-old man.

“There are no apparent suspicious circumstances and as with all sudden deaths a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”