There WAS a huge turnout for the funeral of Bruce Ferguson, the former secretary and latterly president of Turriff Show, who died suddenly while out on his farm at Ardmiddle Mains, Turriff.

His immense contribution to North-east farming, and particularly Turriff Show, was recognised last year when he was named recipient of the Royal Northern Agricultural Society's Aberdeen and Northern Marts' award for outstanding service to the agricultural industry.

Last year was one of mixed fortunes for Bruce following a stroke from which he made a good recovery but left him with a slight impairment to his mobility although this did not prevent him getting back on the curling rink.

But it ended on a high when he was elected president of the show, which he had served man and boy for many years, including 14 years as secretary and treasurer, during its 150th anniversary and had the honour of conducting the Queen on a tour of the show last August.

Bruce is rightly credited with building on the success of his predecessors in developing the show into the largest two-day agricultural show in Scotland. He was greatly admired for his quiet diplomacy and ability to get things done and instigated many of the innovations which have brought the show to its current pre-eminent position.

The show had to overcome a number of challenges during his tenure as secretary, not least BSE and foot-and-mouth disease restrictions and flooding of the showfield.

He was always keen to involve the younger generation which he viewed as an imperative for the future of the show.

Brought up on the family farm, Bruce was dux of Ardmiddle Primary School although, in his self-deprecating way, he used to quip he was the only one in the class. He distinguished himself at Turriff Academy, becoming school captain and participating fully in the academic life of the school as well as sport, art and drama, before graduating with an honours degree in architecture from Strathclyde University, where he was awarded the medal for best student and runner-up for the City of Glasgow Medal for Architecture.

He spent two years working in an architectural practice in New Brunswick, Canada, but returned to Scotland when he won a scholarship in competition with 60 other applicants to study rural aesthetics at the Scottish Farm Buildings Investigation Unit at Craibstone.

This enabled him to combine his interests in architecture and farming and after gaining an MSc at Aberdeen University, he took up a post as lecturer and adviser in the farm buildings department of SAC which he held for 10 years before returning full-time to the family farm because of his father's poor health.

He ran an efficient, modern and productive farming enterprise, which is now run by son Andrew, and was invariably first out with the drill each spring. He was methodical and meticulous in everything he did with a keen competitive spirit.

With the encouragement of his grandmother, he took up bridge at the early age of 14 and had the honour of becoming a national master, playing in many national competitions.

Curling became a serious pastime from his days at Craibstone and he helped set up Turriff Curling Club where he was club and match secretary for 20 years. He greatly enjoyed a Rotary curling trip to Canada after standing down as show secretary and was the current president of Curl Aberdeen.

He was committed to the local Turriff community, chairing the Markethill Primary School board for six years and serving as president of Turriff Rotary Club in 1999. He also instigated the Turriff Reel Night to have fun dancing but also to raise funds for local charities.

Above all he was a family man, who supported wife Kate with her business interests, including the Turra Coo initiative (now marked with a sculpture of the famous cow in the middle of Turriff).

He was particularly proud when Andrew received an RNAS award as a student and supported daughter Lisa in her athletics career which would have seen her competing in the long jump at the Commonwealth Games if it had not been for a back injury.

He is survived by his wife, Kate, son Andrew and daughter, Lisa.