Perth Office Wins Union Recruitment Honour

Margaret And Katy named as winners of NFUS Flame Award

The Membership Flame – an NFU Scotland award that recognises outstanding efforts in recruitment and retention of members - has gone to the hard-working Perth team of Margaret Hebbourn and Katy Neill.    The achievement is all the greater given that Margaret and Katy have only been in post since 2017.

Looking after the interests of 450 members across four branches – Perth, Crieff, Blairgowrie and Highland Perthshire – it makes them two of the busiest secretaries. The Perth office finished 2018 having recruited 22 new members, retained 96 percent of existing members and soared past the subscription target set for the year.

And it is a double celebration for the Perth team with the official opening of their new offices at Broxden Business Park held last week, with Scottish stand up comedy star Jim Smith cutting the ribbon.

Presenting the award at the Union’s annual conference and AGM in Glasgow, Chief Executive Scott Walker said: “It gives me great pleasure to congratulate the team at Perth on receiving this award.  Their achievement is all the more astonishing given that both only started with NFU Scotland and NFU Mutual in 2017.

“But their enthusiasm in invigorating the membership and branch activity is infectious.  They have built an online following for their branch Facebook page and they have proved that branch meetings don’t need to be the same old format.  Branch members have enjoyed kayaking at activity centres; flights across their farms from a local airfield and comedians attending the branch AGM.  Providing an exciting, different, first-class service to the farming community is the key to both recruiting new members and keeping our existing ones and Margaret and Katy have gone above and beyond with their performance this year.”  

The Union’s unique local secretary network – which works on behalf of both NFU Scotland and NFU Mutual - continues to provide an excellent service to members around Scotland.  It also generates great loyalty.  

In the past year, the Union has said good bye to Ian Macpherson from the Stranraer office; Gill Johnstone from the Islay office and David Rendall, who retired as secretary on Sanday – a trio who had a combined length of service on behalf of the Union that stretched to an astonishing 95 years.

It is hugely encouraging that the service to members will continue with David Murchie (Stranraer); Angela Lennie (Sanday); Garry Maclean (Islay); Colin Duncan (Inverurie) and Martin Cushnan (Bearsden) all joining our group secretary network.

In 2018, two NFUS secretaries – Elaine Robertson in Keith and Vicky Carmichael in Duns – celebrated being in post for 25 years while Kenny Slater in Orkney and Susan Lamont in Tiree have now been NFUS secretaries for 20 years.

Long service celebrations in the year ahead include Margaret Farquhar celebrating 25 years in the Shetland office and Wilma Benson marking 20 years looking after the Wigtownshire branch from Stranraer.

Notes to Editors

  • Former NFU Scotland President Jim McLaren started an award in 2011 called the Membership Flame.   It is given each year to recognise those who have made significant progress in securing subscription income.  The 2011 winners were Dumfries and Galloway Region and in 2012 the award went to North East Region. The winners in 2013 were Rob Beatty and Jeremy Parker from Forfar and in 2014 the title went to Skye secretary Jake Sayles.  In 2015, the award returned to Rob Beatty and Jeremy Parker.  2016 winners were Tommy Brodie and Ross Silvers based at Inverurie and in 2017 the title went to the Borders West team of Richard Forsyth, Rory Murray, Laura Bell and Joyce Grigor based at Newton St Boswells. Winning in 2018 were Sally Heggie and Louise Graham from Dumfries.
  • A photograph of NFU Scotland Chief Executive Scott Walker and NFU Mutual Chief Executive Lindsay Sinclair presenting the Membership Flame to the Perth team will be available after 9.00am on Friday 8 February from


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 13/19

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