Retired farmer, George Maxwell Smith MBE, died suddenly but peacefully at his home in Inverarnie, Inverness, in December, aged 94 years old.

Maxie was a well-known and respected figure in the Kincardineshire and Inverness-shire areas through his passionate involvement in farming communities for more than 70 years.

Born at Pitskelly Farm Cottage, Fordoun, in September, 1925, he was the second born of a family of four boys and four girls. As an infant, the Smith family moved to Buckiesmill, Carmont, Drumlithie, where his parents, Alan and Margaret Smith, obtained the tenancy.

He worked hard from an early age feeding hens, pigs and cattle and by the time he was seven was harrowing on his own with a pair of horses. At the age of 11, his father gained the tenancy of Drumsleed, Auchenblae.

When the WW2 broke out, Maxie took over the second pair of farm horses at the age of 14 when only one man of military age was left on each farm. However, he joined the Home Guard at Fordoun and was proud to serve until the war ended. After the war, Maxie was instrumental in the setting up of YFCs in the local area.

At 17, when the family gained the tenancy of Abbeyton, Fordoun, Maxie took charge of the farm while continuing to support his father at Drumsleed. The first tractor of his time a row-crop John Deere was purchased which allowed him to plough, cultivate and harvest on both farms.

Always longing to have a farm of his own, Cluseburn, Inverbervie, was purchased in 1955, with poultry initially being the main enterprise. In later years, the farms of Craighead, Wairds of Alpity and Mavisbank, were also purchased.

Suckler cows became his passion and he showed cattle across the North-east, gaining a silverware haul to be proud of. He was also a director of Laurencekirk Auction Market of which he was a very active supporter and member and believed strongly in the value of a local market. He was a church elder at both Arbuthnott and Daviot churches.

As a keen member of Glenbervie Ploughing Association, he became secretary and thereafter chairman and in his 17 years involvement he helped to raise the entry numbers from an initial 21 competitors to 154. In later years, Maxie also became a member of the Scottish Championship Ploughing Association and held both the vice-chairman and chairman’s role and spent time judging across the world.

In 1983, at the age of 58, he decided to sell up in Kincardine and purchased Inverarnie, Farr, Inverness, with three of his employees agreeing to move with him. The farm provided a large block of land with plenty shelter in every field for his suckler herd and in time the tenancy of Chapelpark, Kingussie, was also taken on.

Maxie 'discovered' the Saler breed and believed they were to be the suckler cows of the future due to their easy calving trait and proceeded to establish a pedigree herd of his own. This interest resulted in him being asked to judge the breed at the Royal Show, at Stoneleigh.

Upon retirement in 1997, two fields were retained. The first was used to keep up to 500 hens of whom produced highly sought after free-range eggs – he said that he started with poultry and he would retire keeping them.

The second field was donated to Farr Community which allowed the construction of 15 affordable houses, a shinty pitch, football pitch, changing rooms and a community hall. This alongside his services to the local community and Scottish agriculture, resulted in Maxie being awarded his MBE.

Maxie is survived by Cathie, his wife of 73 years, his son and three daughters along with 11 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.