Well-known former auctioneer and land agent, Alistair MacMillan, sadly passed away in early January, aged 73, having worked in the agricultural industry for 58 years.

Born in Monkton, to Margaret and the late George MacMillan, Alistair started his life as an 'office boy' for James Craig, aged just 15, at the original Ayr Market. Within a few years, he soon progressed and was moved to Newton Stewart in 1972 to be the general manager of the market there.

For such a young man he took it in his stride, both within the 'box' with gavel in hand and very much as part of the local community.

Alistair, his wife Jean and their four sons, George, David, Alistair and John, moved from the old manse, Lincairn, in Minnigaff, to Barrachan Home Farm, by Port William. There they had many happy years with a small herd of Belties and Galloway cattle, along with a few Texels.

Not content with running the market and a farm, Alistair became secretary of Wigtown Show in 1974 and that lasted until 1987. In the early years, he was fortunate to have a forward-looking committee and a shoulder to lean on in the late Willie Allan, of Glenturk.

This enabled him to invite and host celebrities at the event with great success, with crowds reaching 10,000 at its peak. Celebrities including Ed Stewart, Ally McLeod, Isla St Clair, Angela Rippon and Diana Dors. Noel Edmonds was a notable coup and arrived in style by landing his helicopter on the showfield.

Memorable – but only to a percentage of the locals – was Graeme Souness, when he was manager of Glasgow Rangers, bringing with him club and England captain, Terry Butcher (giving him half his fee). The old 'cattle showfield' was packed that day.

Alistair also enjoyed many years as chairman of the Mochrum Burns Supper further ingraining himself in the local community.

He went on to become a director at the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland for 26 years, something he enjoyed hugely. Helping to develop the Countryside Area was something he was particularly proud off.

Back to the Market, but still linked to agricultural shows Alistair and his friends would enjoy trips across the water to Castlewellan Show to promote Blackfaced sheep and develop a strong network for future farm sales. He was also a regular attendee of the RUAS' Balmoral Show.

After 35 years with James Craig, Alistair moved to Thomson, Roddick and Laurie, then onto H and H Bowe as a land agent, as he felt he had 'many years left in the tank'. There he developed their progress in the sale of farms in the South-west of Scotland and Ayrshire – areas that he was well acquainted with.

He was a man that lived to work and agriculture was what he loved best. A very social man, he was a weel kent face across the industry and beyond. His other love was Kilmarnock FC and he spent many hours on the road with 160-mile round trips to the home games from Newton Stewart (and even further for most of the away ones!). This love was passed onto all four sons who still have season tickets to this day.

Unfortunately, due to the times we are living in, his funeral was a quiet affair, perhaps not befitting of the man and the reach that he had – but his family gave him the best send off they could in the circumstances and know he’d have been proud of it.

The family said it had been overwhelmed by the cards, letters, e-mails and phone calls received and the many many kind words spoken about their dad, son and brother.