SAMW’s executive manager, Martin Morgan has died
It is with enormous sadness that Meat Management reports the death of Martin Morgan, executive manager of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW) after a prolonged battle against cancer.
Martin, who joined the Association in November 2017, will be greatly missed by SAMW’s Executive Committee, with whom he worked closely until a few weeks ago, and all the Association’s members.
A former head of livestock policy for the Scottish Government, Martin started at the Scottish Office in 1977, beginning a career which included working on industry-changing meat hygiene legislation in 1992 and the BSE crisis from 1996 onwards. He was also a major part of the Scottish Office team involved in handling the UK’s foot and mouth outbreaks in 2001 and 2007.
“He was always ready to address any issues which might impact our industry, attend countless Government and business meetings to represent the Scottish red meat sector, and serve the membership in whatever way he could. We will all miss him greatly.”Ian Bentley, SAMW president.
“Martin worked tirelessly on behalf of the Association and the whole Scottish red meat sector during his five years as our executive manager,” said SAMW president, Ian Bentley. “He was always ready to address any issues which might impact our industry, attend countless Government and business meetings to represent the Scottish red meat sector, and serve the membership in whatever way he could. We will all miss him greatly.”
Ian Anderson, who Martin followed as executive manager, paid his own tribute: “I first worked with Martin in the 1980s when he arrived for interview to become a Higher Executive Officer within the Scottish Office Meat Hygiene branch. I knew immediately that Martin possessed all the required skills for the role. He also came over as a good guy, an impression which never changed over the subsequent 40 or so years.
“Among our responsibilities at the time was hygiene controls in Scotland’s meat plants. This was when the EU single market was just over the horizon, a process which grew into the introduction of the UK adopting common European rules into our meat systems in 1992. That required new plant approvals, health marks, official documents, and all that. It was very technical stuff, but Martin mastered it in no time, helping many members of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW), which he later worked with, to implement the new requirements.
“It wasn’t long, of course, before we found ourselves embroiled in BSE. Again, Martin demonstrated his mastery of the regulatory controls in his own low key, unflappable manner. Before long he became something of an expert on SRM (specified risk management) controls and how product separation could be achieved at plant level without production grinding to a halt.
“The day when, a few years later, Scotland secured EU approval to once again be allowed to resume beef exports, was a good one for Martin and for the industry at large. It was a fitting reward for the spadework Martin did on meat hygiene and BSE controls.
“It seemed at times, however, that perhaps Martin should have been a fireman instead of a civil servant. Working in meat hygiene, after all, was often a case of dealing with one firefight after another. Having just got rid of BSE, therefore, we found ourselves confronted by the UK-wide Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak. I was promptly sent to Dumfries as Operations Director for FMD in Scotland, with Martin staying in Edinburgh to run the hygiene division in my absence. I never had a moment’s concern about that, knowing that Martin would ‘mind the shop’ every bit as well as I could.
“Martin subsequently followed me into SAMW when I stood down in 2017 and I could not have wished for anyone better to carry on that work. His record as the Association’s Executive Manager truly confirmed that. He was calm in the face of adversity and never allowed any surrounding chaos or difficulty to distract him from the objectives of representing the interests of Scotland’s red meat processors. This remained true throughout the hugely pressured period of keeping plants operating in the face of all the COVID-19 lockdowns.
“He will be missed by all of us in the Scottish red meat industry, so much so that I can say without any hesitation that we have lost a great, loyal, true friend and colleague, whose love of our industry was up there with the very best.”
SAMW’s executive team and members, alongside many others, have also expressed their sadness and deep condolences to Martin’s wife Jacki and his family.