Mearns Probus Club turn out

President Eric Bell welcomed a good turnout of members to the first meeting in October held in the Crown Inn, Laurencekirk.

Bill Sommerville, one of the club members, gave a talk on his life and work before and after going to live in Laurencekirk.

He was born during wartime in a village near Biggar, Lanarkshire, where his father worked on the land. His family moved around where work was available. When school age was reached, Bill went off to primary school, but didn’t like the idea of confinement in a building all day, after the freedom to roam on farms and across the open countryside.

Behaviour or misbehaviour in those times meant being strapped by the teacher and Bill recalled going home one day for his dinner after being strapped. His father took one look at the weals on his arm and immediately set off on his bike to find the teacher who was responsible.

Leaving school he started as a shepherd and worked for four years at that.

Driving a tractor was another distraction and before too long he had got a job as a tractor driver and orraman on a farm.

As time progressed he moved on to be first tractorman as he had the ability to set up straight drills for root crops in the fields.

Potato harvests were labour-intensive with children and mothers joining in to gather the crops while Bill’s tractor and trailer (or bogie) would cart off the crop.

Combine harvesters arrived and Bill also had a go with these, before finally giving up farm work to drive a lorry, firstly for one year in a quarry. Moving to the Laurencekirk depot in Station Road, his delivery area was as far north as Caithness, with overnight stops.

Bill’s interest in tractors all his life now shows in his collection of three older models, which he displays locally. Last year to raise funds for the R.N.L.I, along with another 30 or so enthusiasts, he took his old grey-gold Ferguson to Oban and back.

Club member Denis Bell proposed thanks.