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Tributes to Alasdair and Bert

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Tributes to Alasdair and Bert

SADNESS spread across the region this week after the deaths of two leading figures were announced.

Dumfriesshire deputy lord lieutenant Alasdair Houston MBE, pictured above, passed away on Monday.

And veteran reporter Bert Houston (no relation) also died on the same day.

Alasdair Houston, above, lived at Gretna Green and was a well known farmer and the businessman behind the Gretna Green Ltd brand, which includes Smith’s, Green’s, Gretna Hall and the Famous Blacksmith’s Shop.

Announcing his death at the age of 59, his family described him as a ‘loving family man, farmer, pedigree cattle breeder, chairman of Gretna Green Ltd and entrepreneur’. He was awarded an MBE in 2011 for services to tourism and the company picked up the Queen’s Award for International Trade earlier this year, while Alasdair was also presented with the Sir William Young Award 2021 by the Royal Highland Show committee.

He leaves a wife Lucy, children Tara and Rafe, mother Moira and sisters Susan, Valerie and Fiona.

Hundreds of comments have been left online describing Alasdair as ‘a true gentleman’ and the region’s MPs, David Mundell and Alister Jack have also praised his legacy.

LEGEND . . . Bert Houston

Meanwhile, tributes have been paid to Dumfries journalist Bert Houston, pictured left, who was a reporter for seven decades.

He died aged 87, having only put down his notepad in recent months.

Bert started his working life at Dumfriesshire Newspapers and went on to enjoy a varied career, reporting from around the world on conflict, disasters and military exercises for many national news organisations.

But locally he was best known as the court reporter at Dumfries Sheriff Court and for his coverage of Queen of the South for 70 years.

Paying tribute to him, a Dumfries Sheriff Court spokeswoman said: “We’re all saddened with the news of Bert’s passing. Bert has been part of the court’s fabric for over 70 years and was a well-kent face around Dumfries.

“He will be sorely missed by everyone at the Dumfries Sheriff Court.”

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