With the death of Jim Lawrie, Cuthill Towers, Milnathort, the Ayrshire Cattle Society lost one of its stalwarts whose contributions to the breed over a long period of time were many and varied.

In 2018, he was appointed as one of the society’s honorary presidents. This honour followed his being president some 30 years earlier.

As well as being in demand as a judge at most of the main shows in the UK and Ireland, he attended and helped organise Ayrshire Cattle Society conferences.

He was also an enthusiastic exhibitor of his Cuthill Towers-prefixed cattle and over the years since he started the herd in 1955, he picked up many of the top awards at the Royal Show, Royal Highland, the National Dairy Event and AgriScot.

The main factor in his success was an incredible ability to identify cow families that would improve the herd. Initially, he brought together bloodlines from the renowned Carnell and Kessington herds.

One of his early purchases was Snowshill Quaker Lilly, which went on to give him his first Highland Show champion in 1963.He went on to win the Highland on another four occasions

In the mid-1970s, whilst in Canada, he identified the potential of Balquidder Maple Sugar, one of the first Canadian Ayrshire’s genetics to be imported in the UK. It was with two cows bred from a son of Maple Sugar that gave Jim his most successful show.

In 1983, he travelled down to the Royal with a strong team. On the first day, he was first and second in the cows in-milk, and went on to take the championship in the Ayrshires. On the second day, both animals were selected to represent the Ayrshires in the Burke Trophy, which they won.

That was the first time that two home-bred animals from the same sire and herd had ever won the famous Burke Trophy

Other notable families bought in by Jim were the Ray, Miss Barbour, Autumn Beauty and Snowdrop. Poignantly, his favourite Snowdrop cow left a fitting tribute on the day of his funeral, giving birth to a heifer calf.

As a early adopter of AI and embryo transplant techniques, Jim was constantly striving to improving the herd, with many of these families still to be found in the Cuthill Towers herd book, with their back breeding also prominent in recent years’ champions.

Jim liked nothing better than giving guided tours round the herd at Cuthill Towers, with parties coming from all round the world to see the quality stock.

He was a great ambassador for the Young Farmers movement, and was a regular host and trainer for many successful stockjudging teams.

His particular highlight came in 1968 when he trained Fife and Kinross' winning Glasgow Herald team. This was the last team to win the competition before it moved to its current format – a success celebrated by SAYFC on the 50th anniversary of the Stocksman of the Year competition at the 2018 Highland Show.

At his local show, Kinross, he liked nothing better than seeing youngsters parade their calves. Through his encouragement, there would often be a full ring of exhibitors in the young handlers’ classes.

His enthusiasm for his local show was evidenced a few years ago with reports of a gentleman trundling along the A91 in his disability scooter.

When asked where he was going, Jim replied 'home.' He had been at Kinross Show and had not been ready to go home when his family had suggested the idea. Later, he decided that the seven miles was achievable by his mobility scooter, so he set off at his own pace only to be traced two miles from home by his family. Once found, he was given a lift back to the farm

He was born in 1930 and brought up on the family farm of Kessington, Bearsden, near Glasgow, and like many children of dairy farmers in those days, he helped out on the milk round before heading off school.

As a young man, Jim was an active member of Loch Lomond YFC and enjoyed socialising with fellow young farmers. He claimed he had been popular mainly because he was able to source fuel through a slightly dubious source during petrol rationing.

This made his farm cattle float a very popular taxi service to YF meetings and events.

Jim met Jessie Templeton at a YFC dance in the Grand Hall, in Kilmarnock, and they married in June, 1955, before settling down to life at Cuthill Towers.

In the spring of 1964, Jim spent a lengthy period in hospital with a back problem, eventually being discharged in a wheelchair. However, through sheer grit and determination he walked again and had a very full and active working life, even managing to play a mean game of golf.

His enthusiasm for life saw him become involved in a whole range of local organisations, including, along with Jessie, Milnathort Bridge Club. This card-playing extended to having people round where the visit was not complete without playing a game of bridge, or some other less salubrious card game.

Jessie died last year and they are survived by sons, Arthur and George, and daughters, Jen and Irene, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.