ONE OF Fife's most prominent businessmen, who was also a leading breeder of Aberdeen-Angus cattle, has died at the age of 83.

Rae Grieve, of Carlhurlie, Lundin Links, died in Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, after a long illness.

Born and brought up in the mining village of East Wemyss and educated at Buckhaven High School, Mr Grieve studied agriculture in Edinburgh before joining the then National Coal Board where he set up a planned maintenance scheme for every single item of plant and equipment in the East Fife collieries.

With the coal industry in deep decline, he joined Associated Electrical Industries who were building two large plants at Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes to manufacture telecommunications equipment and as organisation and project engineer was closely involved in the recruitment of 3000 employees for the plants.

When the project phase was completed, he was offered promotion to move to Coventry but decided to remain in Fife, joining builders, George Wimpey and Co, who had been main contractors for the two plants. This was the start of his long involvement in the building industry in Fife and further afield.

With his farming connections, he was instrumental in expanding Wimpey's land bank at an unprecedented rate which resulted in the rapid growth of the company's house building programme throughout Scotland.

Ten years later, in 1978, with business partners, he bought a small company called London and Clydeside Holdings which, as group estates director, he helped expand from a turnover of only £500,000 to £20m in a few years, establishing the company as a considerable force in Scottish housebuilding.

Just six years later, the company went public with a listing on the Stock Exchange. In 1995, by which time 200-300 houses a year were being built, the company attracted the interest of Wilson Connelly (Wilcon) who were attracted by the potential of 850 acres of Dunfermline Eastern expansion which was considered the jewel in L and C's crown. Wilcon bought the company and Mr Grieve stayed on as a director for two years until his 65th birthday.

However, an unexpected approach from Aberdeen Asset Management saw him become a non-executive director and chairman of Boyack Homes in Kirkcaldy with a mandate to expand the business which resulted in a considerable housebuilding programme in Fife and other areas.

When Boyack was put into administration at the start of the banking crisis in 2009, Mr Grieve and two fellow directors acquired the company and traded as Lundin Homes with Mr Grieve acting as guarantor, rather than depending on bank support. The company has become one of Scotland's premier housebuilders with a strong emphasis on distinction, design and high specification and the workforce has been doubled from 30 to 60 in recent years.

His vision has also recently seen a site on the outskirts of Aberdeen, which he bought in 1983, earmarked for development, and the purchase of Dundas Home Farm, South Queensferry, in the 1970s is now paying off with the building of the second Forth Road Bridge.

His farming interests started with the purchase of his house at Carlhurlie, followed by the nearby Annfield Farm where, in 1990, he established what has become one of the leading Aberdeen-Angus herds in the country.

The herd' successes over the years have included three supreme championships and top prices at the famous Perth sales (now moved to Stirling), two championships at the Scottish Winter Fair, 'Champion of champions' in the beef cattle section at the Royal Highland Show and many championship successes at local shows.

Only two months ago, at the Stirling bull sales, the supreme champion was bought on his behalf for the top price of 24,000gns at the new stock bull for the Carlhurlie herd.

Mr Grieve hunted with the Fife Foxhounds for many years and was clerk of the sales at the Fife point-to-point for 30 years until 2006.

His presence will be missed at the next point-to-point meeting on April 23.

Mr Grieve's funeral will take place at Largo and Newburn Parish Church on Thursday, April 21, at 12.45pm.