Former Guild chairman, journalist Ronnie Fraser, who died in March 2010 aged 81, has left a generous legacy of more than £12,400 to the Guild Charitable Trust. This is a significant boost to the capital fund, from which the Trustees can draw interest to provide confidential help to Guild members who find themselves in difficulty for whatever reason.
Ronnie Fraser was appointed editor of the Scottish publication Farming News in 1960, having studied agriculture at Glasgow University. Before embarking on a career in journalism, notes an obituary in The Herald, he worked as an assistant agricultural economics lecturer at the University of Durham and then as an agricultural researcher on the staff of the United States Embassy in London.
He was appointed Editor of Farming News in Perth at the age of 30 and remained in the post for 10 years before embarking on a freelance career working for a number of agricultural publications and the BBC. His byline was always TRL Fraser.
Fellow journalist and Guild member Fordyce Maxwell recalls that Ronnie gave him his first job as a reporter: “He became my first editor after leaving college when I worked for two years on Farming News,” says Fordyce. “In 1968, Farming News changed from magazine to newspaper format and we moved to offices in Glasgow. Ronnie was never happy with the change and wasn’t really suited to the hard-news style we tried to adopt. He was replaced by Ian Morrison a year later.”
The onset of deafness restricted him greatly in later years, remembers fellow journalist Eddie Gillanders, and as it worsened, he lived quietly on the West coast of Scotland, rarely attending Guild or agricultural events.
However, enforced retirement gave him more time for one of the great loves of his life: foreign travel, says The Herald in its obituary. He also turned his attention to campaigning for improved subtitles for the deaf on television and maintained an interest in politics that started in his 20s. As recently as 2008, he was elected president of the Argyll & Bute Scottish Liberal Democrats.
Arthur Anderson adds: “I never worked with Ronnie Fraser but, like all of us in Scotland, I knew him well over a long number of years through meeting at shows, press conferences and other functions. He was a gentleman in every sense of the word and liked by everyone.”
Ronnie Fraser is pictured below third from left, second row wearing a red tie amongst a group of fellow Scots journalists in an image supplied by Ken Fletcher of The Scottish Farmer. A small prize awaits the sender of the first caption to name them all.
Another picture has emerged, this time from Arthur Anderson’s dusty archives! Probably taken in the early 1970s at a Nickerson Seeds press briefing in Edinburgh, the line-up includes Arthur himself (fourth from left) when he was with The Scotsman, then Bert Clark, Dundee Courier and Allan Wright, Glasgow Herald, with Ronnie Fraser pictured far right.