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Obituary: John Arbuckle, Scottish potato and raspberry farmer

John Arbuckle, farmer. Born: October 15 1940 in Perth. Died: November 23 2020 in Kirkcaldy, aged 80.

Writes Andrew Arbuckle in an obituary published by The Scotsman: “

When asked recently how he was, John Arbuckle would reply “Fine” and move the conversation onto some other topic. He did, however, make an appointment for a medical check-up and drove to the hospital. He made it to the entrance before he collapsed. Then having been diagnosed with both leukemia and pneumonia, he died three days later.

“Throughout his eighty-year life, John never complained, nor did he seek the limelight, often appearing diffident and shy, and yet he had a remarkably successful life and, if he wanted to, plenty to shout about.

“John … grew seed potatoes on his farm in north east Fife, and again, it was his ability to quietly meet the requirements of a demanding market that marked him out. In an industry riven with problems of quality he was quietly proud that few, if any, seed potato consignments from his East Flisk farm ever came back with a rejection slip.

“His lifetime interest in the potato crop may not have been surprising as his father had been vice chairman of the Potato Marketing Board. His own first steps in the industry were taken when he was a 15-year-old schoolboy attending a class in Cupar where varieties and diseases had to be identified prior to roguing the crop for purity.

“Two years later, he won the first prize as a student on the Scottish potato crop inspection course; a feat he repeated some 40 years later after he had retired from active farming.

“As a seed potato producer, he specialised in growing crops for the export market with all the additional standards and conditions that entailed. Inevitably he was drawn into potato politics and he served as chair of the potato committee of the National Farmers Union of Scotland and latterly as a member of the Scottish Seed Potato Development Council. A colleague on this committee said John did not say much, but when he did people listened to what he said. His committee service saw him elected an honorary Vice president of the Union.”

Source: The Scotsman, Read the full obituary here

Lukie Pieterse, Editor and Publisher of Potato News Today

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