Bill Gray MBE

THE Irish Curling Association is immensely proud tonight of our secretary and good friend Bill Gray, who becomes a Member of the British Empire in the King’s Birthday Honours.

Bill playing for Ireland in the World Senior Curling Championships in Gangneung, Korea in April

Bill has been recognised with the Honour for his sterling work as Chairman of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, for services to Agriculture, to Charity and to the community in Scotland.

Bill said tonight: “To say that I am incredibly honoured and humbled to have received this award is a massive understatement.

“It is as much for the incredible people that I have worked with through my agricultural career as it is for me and I will be forever grateful for their support.”

Bill (above) during his term as Chairman of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland.

Bill’s citation reads:

William (Bill) Gerald Gray MBE, 63 years old, Midlothian

Chairman, Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland. For services to Agriculture, to Charity and to the community in Scotland

● In 2019, he was appointed Chairman of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland, following 4 terms as a volunteer Director, 14 years as a director and 3 as chair.

● Joining RHASS he has brought a board of 59 trustees and 16,000 memberships.

● Due to Covid-19 the Highland Centre Ltd was closed meaning that £1.5M of the charity’s income was lost. Under his efforts, an unprecedented fundraising campaign was developed raising over £600,000 in record time.

● He was then recognised by independent consultants as leading one of the fastest and most successful membership campaigns ever.

● The society has seen huge financial losses during the pandemic, however he single-handedly brought in revenue to the site from a public company which raised over £700,000 income over two years.

● He did this while he was a full-time employee of a farming business of 660 hectares and many estate diversifications while also supporting all activities of DEFRA.

● He was a project director of the new membership pavilion at the Royal Highland Centre which received a very positive response when used at this year’s Royal Highland Show.

● In 2021 he met with the government and stakeholders and worked very hard with his team to help take RHS online. In under 80 days, the Society delivered 7 days of 12 hours of action from behind closed doors, reaching over 100 countries which put RHSS back on the map.

● He was later recognised as Arable Farmer of the Year in Scotland in 2021.

● He plays an instrumental part in the development of new farming talents. He partnered with a neighbouring farm to become one of the Scottish Government Monitor Farm projects, where he worked alongside a young farm manager to help develop a highly successful project regularly attracting between 60-100 farmers to share best practice.

● It went onto being Farmers Weekly Farm Manager of the year.

● In June 2022, the RHS returned where he delivered one of the most important shows in history.

● He is also a supporter of the Royal Highland Education Trust, a charity that opens rural Scotland to thousands of schoolchildren.

● He has delivered significant improvements to the farming estate, diversifying business, adopting renewable technologies, developing new income streams, and driving innovation.

● He is Director and Former Chair of the Lothian Machinery ring coop, which works to save farmers money through pooling of resources and combined buying power.

● He was instrumental in establishing routes to economies of scale and commercial buying power.

● He was the Past Chair of Dalkeith Show, a show in Midlothian which promotes food and farming to the local community, he also served his local community as a community councillor.