After a career spanning 48 years, Donald Morrison, United Auctions' area managing director for Argyll and the Islands, is set to retire at the end of this year.

Having stood down from his auctioneering role in 2018, Donald, who turned 65 in November, will pass on the baton for the west coast sales to the existing team of Raymond Kennedy, Peter Wood, Ross Fotheringham, Murray Steel and Derek Anderson, who have been in place since 2016.

Donald’s last day as a director of UA will be December 31, but he intends to continue to be a familiar face at the sale rings at Stirling, Dalmally, Oban, Islay, Tiree and Uist markets, to buy livestock on behalf of farmers and crofters.

Read more: Donald hangs up the gavel

Mr Morrison said: “It was always my plan to retire at 65 and although it’s the end of an era for me, customers will continue to be in the capable hands of this young, experienced team who have been working together for five years."

During his time at the company as both an employee and board member, Donald has been instrumental in helping to secure the long-term sustainability of the west coast markets. The crofter’s son from South Uist advocated for the company’s investments to upgrade the UA-owned Dalmally and Islay marts and the facility at Moleigh, and played a major role working with the communities of Tiree and Lochboisdale to ensure that their community marts were built. Donald was also a key part of the team in securing the reappointment of UA as operators at Oban Livestock Centre.

“From where the markets were when I took over as manager more than 20 years ago to where they are today, it’s night and day," he said. "After significant investment, the west coast markets are up-to-date and fit-for-purpose premises, with the lairage facilities, they will be there to serve the farmers and crofters into the future.

“Although I’ll no longer be working for UA in the new year, I’ll always be a UA man through and through.”

Managing Director George Purves commented: “For almost five decades Donald has diligently served Scotland’s west coast crofters and farmers. Working with Donald for over 20 years has allowed me to learn the great warmth, kindness and fun that can be experienced in the Scottish Islands. He leaves a lasting legacy having secured the sustainability of the area and a strong team who have gained experience and knowledge working with him for years. We wish him all the best for his retirement.”

A presentation to mark Donald’s contribution to UA and to the farming and crofting communities in Scotland will take place at the Christmas Sale at Oban Livestock Centre on Tuesday December 7.