FOLLOWING the sad news of the death of Brian Pack, former Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP has paid tribute to his life, work and unstinting commitment to Scottish agriculture.

“Brian was nothing short of a one-off colossus in the Scottish agri-business and rural sector with unrivalled insights into the meat industry and a sharp intelligence that led to him being an expert in farming policy and industry issues," said Mr Lochhead.

“That was why there was no more obvious choice to lead the inquiry I commissioned into the future of Scottish agricultural support that made the case for a distinctive policy for Scotland and that is an important part of Brian’s legacy.

“I worked closely with him for many years and greatly valued his wise counsel, straight talking and big sense of humour. I don’t know what I’ve done without him given his experience and ability to distil the complexities around farming and food policy," said the Moray MSP.

“Few people had such a wealth of knowledge about the industry and such an firm grasp of often complex issues. He was a much loved character who commanded enormous respect throughout many circles and will be sorely missed. He was also a great act at the question time event at the Royal Highland Show never failing to both entertain and impress the audience.

“Even after he stepped back from some of his roles and I had moved on from my previous Ministerial portfolio, we remained personal friends and stayed in touch, meeting up now and again for lunch," added Mr Lochhead. "His strong views on the future of Scottish agriculture and our country never dimmed. Even when he was ill, he continued writing and commenting on the issues of the day given how much he cared about farming.

“I’ll sorely miss not having him at the other end of the phone for a chat. Family was very important to Brian and I offer his wife, Pam, and children my heartfelt condolences.”