TWO local farmers who starred in a TV series about the industry have been given a top Scottish award for their service to agriculture.
Anne and Bobby Lennox, who farm at Shantron, near Luss, received NFU Scotland and NFU Mutual's prestigious Ambassador Award at the union's annual dinner.
The Lennoxes were one of the couples to star in the first series of the BBC’s award-winning This Farming Life programme, which aired in spring 2016.
The award also honours their commitment to hill farming, the young farmers' movement, education and tourism over many years.
Bobby told the Advertiser he had no idea that the award was coming his and Anne's way.
“It was a total surprise,” he said. “I was actually sitting writing out an envelope for a charity donation during the dinner, not paying any attention at all, when someone nudged me and said 'I think you should listen to this bit'!
“It was never in my thoughts for a moment that we would be considered for such a prestigious award, but we're really chuffed to bits to get such recognition from our peers.”
Bobby, who has traced his family's farming background at Shantron back to the 1750s, said he had never planned as a youngster to do anything other than follow in his forefathers' footsteps.
“Farming is always what I wanted to do,” he continued, “and I've never regretted it.
“It's a way of life – as a farmer you don't do what you do to make money, and there are plenty of days when it all goes wrong, but the job satisfaction when you get it right is immense.”
Both Bobby and Anne regularly play host to young visitors from schools throughout the west of Scotland, while many of the guests at the B&B business run alongside the farm find themselves fascinated by their surroundings.
“Our guests are really interested in where their food comes from and what really happens on a farm,” Bobby added.
“And we've always been heavily involved in bringing kids on to the farm – there's nothing more satisfying than seeing a young child's face when they realise where their food comes from, or when they meet a new baby lamb.”
NFU Scotland president Allan Bowie said: “Within farming circles, Anne and Bobby are a well-known and well-loved double act who demonstrate that at the heart of every successful farming business is teamwork.
“And, thanks to This Farming Life, the public got to see that partnership in action.
“They are a couple who have given so much back to the industry that they love, that such an award is long overdue.”
Bobby is a leading light in the performance recording of Blackface sheep, and also serves as president of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs (SAYFC), a post also held by his late father.
SAYFC chief executive Penny Montgomerie said: “On behalf of all Scottish Young Farmers, we would like congratulate Bobby and Anne on this well-deserved accolade.
“They are true ambassadors for the Scottish agricultural industry, passionately promoting food and farming both on and off farm and we are delighted to see them recognised this evening.”
The couple have also hosted thousands of schoolchildren on their farm through their support for the Royal Highland Educational Trust (RHET), which aims to bring farming and the working countryside to life for young people.
Local RHET organiser Sheila Bannerman added: “Their enthusiasm for food and farming is infectious and has a huge influence on schoolkids.
“Bobby was always involved with RHET Clyde, but he became a director of RHET Dumbarton, Lomond and Renfrewshire when it formed in 2007 and he, and Anne, are tireless supporters of our work in this area.
“Year in, year out, Bobby and Anne host numerous groups of pupils at Shantron – not just local schools but also from Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway – and Bobby regularly helps us out with classroom visits to schools in the area.
“He is a regular feature in the two-day food and farming event that we stage each year, entertaining and engaging with the hundreds of schoolchildren who attend.”
Bobby has also been a branch and area chairman of NFU Scotland and represented hill farmers on the union's Less Favoured Areas committee.