A GATHERING of around 200 well-wishers said farewell to the outgoing secretary of the Border Union Agricultural Society on Friday.

For two decades Ron Wilson has overseen some of the biggest agricultural shows and events in the country.

To mark his retirement a special lunch was staged at Springwood Park, near Kelso.

Speakers, including former BUAS chairman, Tom Arnott and RHASS Chief Executive, Alan Laidlaw, paid tribute to Ron’s dedication and commitment that have seen the implementation of major changes at Springwood Park.

Speaking after Friday’s lunch, Ron told us: "To see so many BUAS members, friends, family and guests attend this event to mark my time at the Society was truly humbling.

"It has been a real privilege to be involved with such a forward-looking organisation and to play my part in supporting the agricultural community in the Borders.

"There’s a whole team of people, from Society chairmen, directors, staff and volunteers – and of course my wonderful wife Joan – who have pulled together to make everything happen and it has been my pleasure to work with them.

"Together I believe we have achieved something special that has laid firm foundations for the next chapter in the Society’s development.”

Supported by his wife Joan and a small office team, Ron oversaw the development of the Kelso site from a show field with two basic sheds and a grandstand, to a major showground and exhibition venue, complete with a new hall that now hosts many major events and has become a significant asset, not just for the Society, but for the region, attracting visitors and valuable tourism revenue into the area.

Ron also oversaw the organisation of the four core events in the Society’s calendar - the annual Border Union Show, the Ram Sales, the Championship Dog Show and the highly successful Schools Countryside Day.

Championed by Ron and Joan, the schools initiative was originally intended as a one-off event to celebrate the Society’s bicentenary in 2013.

It has now become one of its flagship annual events and has welcomed over 6,500 Primary 5 children from across the region to Springwood Park for a special day of activities that teach them about agriculture, rural life and the environment.

Douglas Stephen, chairman of the Border Union Agricultural Society, added: “Ron has been Border Union Secretary at one of the most important times in the Society’s development.

"We’ve faced many challenges during that time, including the outbreak of foot and mouth disease and Blue Tongue disease.

"But we now have one of the finest event venues in the country that hosts over 100 events each year, as well as four highly respected and successful flagship events in the Border Union Show, the Ram Sales, the Championship Dog Show, plus a Schools Countryside Day of which we are immensely proud.

"Ron leaves an impressive legacy here at Springwood Park and we thank him sincerely for everything he, and his wife Joan, have done.”