NPA pays tribute as Voice of the Pig Industry rides off into the sunset
6th Sep 2016 / By Alistair Driver
The National Pig Association (NPA) paid a fitting tribute to the Voice of the Pig Industry, Digby Scott, at a dinner in London on Monday night.
Digby, who for decades has informed, cajoled, provoked, occasionally upset, and above all, entertained the pig industry, has retired from his role as NPA webmaster and communications adviser.
As founder and publisher of Pig World, Digby first came to wider industry prominence in 1998 as one of the driving forces in the industry fightback against the disastrous market crash that was threatening to crush the UK pig sector.
Working with the likes of Stewart Houston, Richard Longthorp, Meryl Ward, John Rowbottom, Hugh Crabtre, John Cussons and Chris Brant, under the banner of the British Pig Industry Support Group, Digby’s role was to ensure the industry and the wider public were fully informed about what was going on.
They made a difference and ultimately transformed the way sector is represented, culminating in the formation of the NPA.
In an appropriately colourful tribute, Richard Longthorp described Digby as the voice of the pig industry.
“Since BPISG and the foundation of the NPA there have been several key people, but there has been only one constant over all the years and that is Digby Scott.
“Digby, your contribution has been immense, it has been invaluable, it has been immeasurable.”
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said Digby was the driving force behind NPA’, giving it the ‘boxing gloves to punch above its weight’ with his unique communications skills.
She said: “Digby gives us a voice in a sea of competing messages and ensures that we are heard. He is part of the NPA family and not only has helped us all personally to grow and develop, but is always there to support and keep us on the right track. We are really going to miss him.”
NPA chairman Richard Lister ensured Digby’s wife Ann, the ‘unsung hero’, was also recognised before presenting Digby with a lifetime fellowship of the NPA.
Stewart Houston thanked Digby and Ann for their enormous contribution over the years, while Sally Stockings delivered a bottle of champagne describing Digby as the ‘bubbles of the pig industry’.
Hugh Crabtree said simply: “This industry loves Digby Scott.”
Digby, who admitted to mixed feelings about finally being free of a role he has put so much into, described the last four years at the NPA some of the best years of his life.
Remembering in particular his great friend John Godfrey, he thanked his many friends in the room and beyond and paid tribute to the ‘fantastic’ NPA team and all the work it does for the industry.
“This has been a brilliant industry, it has been a brilliant association to work with and this industry has the most wonderful people. Thank-you very much,” he said.
NPA webmaster view
“Hard act to follow. No pressure,” they all said with a smile in my direction as the tributes poured in for Digby’s astonishing work.
Indeed – how do you follow that? No-one has ever done it quite like Digby – that mix of raw journalistic instinct, robustly expressed opinion (which, as Stewart Houston pointed out, wasn’t always shared by his loyal readers) and passionate advocacy of an industry he has become synonomous with.
He has been a huge influence on my career - from my days as a keen young Farmers Guardian reporter getting involved in the work of BPISG to his invaluable help in recent weeks in the transition from one NPA webmaster and website to another.
“Keep in touch if you need me,” Digby said as he metaphorically rode off into the sunset.
Oh, I will - no fears on that front. And good luck with your new found freedom and whatever ventures lie ahead Digby – you deserve it.