Awards for Outstanding Contribution to RSABI

Monika Reichelt

Two awards for outstanding contribution to RSABI were presented at a Jubilee event on board HMS Albion, attended by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal.

The awards were presented as part of a range of 125th anniversary year initiatives by the charity - which supports people in Scottish agriculture – to thank the volunteers, fundraisers, and others for their invaluable support.

The award for individual contribution went to agricultural journalist, Andrew Arbuckle, and a group award to Gregor Caldwell, representing the Ayrshire Volunteer Committee.

Andrew Arbuckle has raised more than £100,000 for RSABI – as well as lots of smiles - through the sale of a series of three light-hearted books. The books were compiled by Mr Arbuckle, with his late brother John also working on two of the titles.

“Farming is a Funny Business” launched in 2016, packed full of jokes, stories and anecdotes contributed by the agricultural community. The book was so successful it was followed by a second volume “Farming is Still a Funny Business”, with over 300 stories contributed for each of the books.

The third title, “Farming Facts and Fake News”, features a mix of essential information on all aspects of Scottish rural life, alongside many entertaining facts about farming, farmers and those who live in the countryside. Two of the books are still on sale online at

Gregor Caldwell, Deputy Head of Agricultural Staff at Scottish Government, founded the Ayrshire Volunteer Committee to support RSABI in 2009. Gregor has chaired the committee since it was set up and during the past 12 years, the committee has raised around £120,000.

Among the many activities undertaken have been three vintage tractor restorations. The tractors were then raffled or auctioned off and the proceeds went to RSABI.

A highly successful ladies’ lunch and fashion show has been running for several years at Turnberry and sponsored walks and activities undertaken have included a coast-to-coast walk – the Southern Upland Way. Pancake-making has also been a big success, with stalls at Ayr Market in the run up to Christmas proving very popular and raising funds as well as spirits.

David Leggat, Chair of RSABI, said: “During our anniversary year we are very much celebrating the extraordinary people involved in Scottish agriculture and thanking everyone who, in a huge variety of ways, supports the work undertaken by RSABI.

“The support of people like Andrew, Gregor and the Ayrshire Committee is absolutely vital to the success of the work we do, and our sincere thanks go to them and all the farming and crofting families and agricultural businesses who help us in different ways.

“Knowing we have the industry behind us is a huge strength which underpins the work we do for people facing challenging times and this year we are also aiming to recruit a further 125 new Supporters’ Scheme members. If you are not already a member of our Supporters’ Scheme, please visit our website and sign-up to help us reach our target.”