John Stirton is set to hang up his yard manager role this month after a remarkable 50 years serving agricultural communities from Stirling to Lairg and across the islands for United Auctions.

A third generation yard manager, John started at the age of 15 years old straight from school to the old market in Stirling’s town centre, working full time in the yard when leaving school at 16 years old.

After quickly working up the ranks, he became yard manager taking over from his father at age 27, a role he’s been fulfilling for an incredible 30 years.

John Stirton said: “The manager role was bred into me and the three-generation role will never happen in this way again. I was learning it from day one and it was all I knew.

"Folk may not realise the unseen work it takes to get and keep the market running well and to a high standard of cleanliness; to get the stock accommodated beforehand and removed afterwards and all the logistics in between. My team works long hours to prepare for all the different sales across the eight centres, especially at this busy back end of the year with very quick turnarounds for daily sales.

"I’ve enjoyed my career and met a huge amount of lovely people, including customers and hauliers in all parts of the county. I’m looking forward to more relaxing days in my retirement," he said.

George Purves, managing director of United Auctions, added: "John has been a stalwart of the company in a career that has spanned an incredible half century. The board of directors cannot express enough our gratitude for the work and unwavering dedication that John has given to United Auctions. As we bid farewell to John whose presence and unparalleled ability will be greatly missed, we wish John nothing but success and happiness in his well-deserved retirement."