Agricultural haulier Doug Mitchell has been recognised for providing a “first class service” to the farming community for almost 50 years.
Mr Mitchell, who runs the Douglas F Mitchell haulage firm from its base in Laurencekirk with his wife Rosehelen and their son Clive, is this year’s recipient of the Royal Northern Agricultural Society (RNAS) David Argo Award.
The accolade is presented each year to an unsung hero employed in the agricultural sector.
In all the citations for the award, Mr Mitchell is praised for his dedication to serving his farming customers who span from the Orkney and Shetland islands in the north to the Scottish Borders in the south.
One of the citations for Mr Mitchell winning the award reads: “His positive attitude, work ethic, friendly personality and service to farming make him a long overdue candidate for recognition.”
Another describes Mr Mitchell as a “stalwart of the community” while another says he is the “most friendly, obliging person you will find in the haulage business”.
Mr Mitchell started his haulage business in 1974 and it has grown from a one-man band with one lorry, to a business with seven drivers, two mechanics, an office worker and 10 lorries.
“I started hauling for John Guthrie grain merchant and he stood guarantor to get me going,” said Mr Mitchell.
“I made sure he didn’t have to pay anything.”
Mr Mitchell, who turned 77 in September, still enjoys hauling for his customers and he spent three months this year carting peas for East Coast Viners to their factory near Dundee.
He said: “It’s good to go about the farms and meet the farmers; you meet everybody and you get a bit of banter.”
Mr Mitchell’s son Clive has taken over the business, including overseeing where lorries need to go and what loads need picked up and dropped off.
Mr Mitchell recalls doing this job from the cab of his lorry, before using mobile phones while driving became illegal, and his multi-tasking abilities are also praised in citations for him winning the award.
One reads: “As he grew his business he was usually driving a lorry whilst at the same time juggling, quite literally, his phone and clipboard, organising his drivers in the fleet which would have been up to 18 lorries at one point.”
Another says the business has provided a “first class service for the agricultural community” hauling everything from straw and grain, to potatoes, machinery and fertiliser.
One citation reads: “He [Mr Mitchell] seldom let you down, even when presented with a task at short notice, and at rates that didn’t break the bank.”
On winning the award, Mr Mitchell said he was “over the moon” and added: “I’d like to thank everyone that has nominated me.”
Away from driving lorries, Mr Mitchell enjoys tending to his small flock of sheep and taking part in vintage tractor shows and ploughing matches with his trusty Massey Ferguson 35 and Ransomes plough.
Mr Mitchell will receive his award at a special RNAS awards lunch taking place at Jury’s Inn at Aberdeen Airport on November 5.