ONE of the bastions of Oban Mart's working day, Ronnie MacCormick, passed away recently, aged 70.

He was born in Iona, in October, 1949, the eldest son in a family of six and was educated at Iona Primary School then on to Oban High. On leaving school he returned to Iona to work for his father and helped to fence apportionment on the common grazing.

With full time jobs being scarce, he decided to look elsewhere, this took him to the Borders where he did lambing and many other jobs on the farm, included shearing. He became an expert at the job and his name will be found on trophies won around the many competitions in the West of Scotland – and on retiring, he became a much sought after judge.

After returning to Mull, he worked on the Iona ferry for a time, but the call of the land persuaded him back shearing and fencing.

In October, 1973, he was awarded the tenancy of Saorphion Farm, where he took root. For some years, to supplement his income, he continued shearing and many people in Argyll and the islands were fortunate to benefit from his services, hard work, and to have his craic and stories.

He was involved in local area cattle sales before they ceased, during which he caught the eye of Argyll Auctions, resulting in having the offer of yardsman at the then new Oban Market, a job title he held until his illness overtook him 24½ years later. He was in the eyes of many, Oban Mart.

Many reps and auctioneers on their annual visit left the farms not knowing if they had succeeded in persuading them to make use of their facilities until the final hand shake with the parting words – I’ll be in touch with Ronnie.

From the crofter with a few lambs, to the farmer with many; from the haulier with a small trailer, to a lorry carrying hundreds; and from Barra head to Southend, be it day or night Ronnie was deemed to be 'the man in charge!' and treated all with equal respect.

He will be remembered for many reasons, not the least of which was his helpfulness and courtesy.

D MacG