|SOURCE: Scotsman 27/07/1999 p17|
Tommy Dun, OBE, farmer, former chairman of the board of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland.
Born: 16 August 1930 in Selkirk
Died: 19 July 1999 in Edinburgh, aged 68
Forever young at heart has to be the way to describe Tommy Dun, one of the great characters of Scottish agriculture. He displayed an exuberance throughout his life which defied all adversity, and he had his share.
Thomas Dixon Connochie Dun was the younger son of George and Ellen Dun, of Gilston, near Heriot in Midlothian. Farming has always been a way of life for the Dun family and he, too, was to make his considerable mark over many years.
His father died when Tommy was just ten and the running of the farm was placed in the hands of his cousin, Sandy Dun.
Tommy was educated at Dollar Academy and the Edinburgh and East of Scotland College of Agriculture before returning home to take up serious farming with his elder brother, Robin.
They were quick to reach the top with their North Country Cheviot ewe lambs frequently leading the averages at the annual August sales at Hawick and St Boswells and then each September with their rams from the neighbouring farm of Nether Brotherstone, where Tommy lived after his marriage to Jackie Bruce.
Over the years he judged at many shows, including the Royal Highland, the Royal English and the Royal Welsh as well as the Royal Smithfield. Earlier this month he placed the sheep inter-breed pairs championship at the Royal at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire. He also achieved great success with his own sheep at many shows, both local and national, with conspicuous distinction at the Royal Highland on several occasions.
He was president of the North Country Cheviot Sheep Society in 1967-68 and had been an honorary president since 1970, For many years he was very active within the National Farmers' Union of Scotland, serving on the council and as a member of the livestock committee. His services to the sheep industry were recognised in 1991 when he was awarded the George Hedley Memorial Award, a distinction he particularly appreciated.
The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland was to play a large part in the life of Tommy Dun. He was first elected as a director in 1973 and was due to retire earlier this week after 26 years of distinguished service during which he only missed one meeting.
He served on all the society's standing committees, including the development and general purposes, which he chaired from 1988 to 1991. he was chief sheep steward at the Royal Highland Show from 1977 to 1991. During this period, largely as a result of his efforts, sheep entries rose from 580 in 11 sections to over 1,100 in 19 sections.
He was a highly effective and popular chairman of the board of directors from 1992 to 1994 and since 1995 he had been honorary secretary to the board. In recognition of this outstanding contribution Tommy was to have been appointed as an honorary vice-president in 2000.
Over the years he was on eof the people who have a knack of making things happen and just a month ago at this year's Royal Highland Show he was as busy as the directors half his age going about his business with a sense of integrity and great humour.
That sense of fun found expression in many different ways, but among the most enjoyable for Tommy were the regular post-Highland Show lunches with his great friends Jock Campbell, Fraser Morrison and Kenneth Oliver. They have all now passed on, but their collective enthusiasm for life and the Royal Highland Society remains a happy memory.
Horse-racing was always close to Tommy Dun's heart and in his younger days he rode successfully in point-to points on the northern circuit. His greatest moment came in March 1958 when Spud Tamson, which had been a wedding present to Jackie from her father, won the National Hunt four-mile Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in a blinding snowstorm. Over the years many winners came from the small yard where they were trained on the surrounding hills. Only last year Tommy was delighted to lead in Planning Gain at Kelso, which was to be his last winner.
He was made an OBE earlier this year for services to agriculture and recently attended the Palace of Holyroodhouse when The Queen was in Scotland.
He took great delight in his family and pride in their achievements in racing, business and farming. He is survived by his wife, Jackie, three sons and a daughter and seven grandchildren.