Driving force behind boat festival remembered as ‘kind-hearted gentleman’ by mourning north-east community

The Press and Journal, by David Proctor

The driving force behind one of the north-east’s premier tourist events has been remembered as an “exceptionally kind-hearted man” following his death yesterday.

Roger Goodyear fell ill just weeks ago, and died of cancer at Roxburghe House in Aberdeen at the age of 74.

Touching tributes have now been paid to the stalwart of the local tourism industry, who helped make the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival at Portsoy the international draw it is today.

Portsoy Community Enterprise organises the event and last night pledged to ensure that this year’s instalment, which takes place next month, will serve as an homage to its leading light.

One volunteer, Vivien Rae, said Mr Goodyear’s death would be a “huge loss” to the entire town.

She said: “Roger was held in massively high regard by everyone in town and this is an incredibly huge loss for Portsoy.

“People really did respect him, and he was genuine with everyone.

“He had a genuine interest in what people did.  He was a huge driving force for us.

“We will continue to prepare for the boat festival and we hope to do him proud.”

Mr Goodyear lived in the region for more 25 years and was responsible for expanding the Portsoy Boat Festival into the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.

The father-of-four began helping with proceedings at the annual maritime celebration in 2000 and oversaw its growth into an international event.

Gardenstown laird, Marc Ellington, worked with Mr Goodyear on the festival and said everyone involved will be affected by his death.

He said: “People in the area will be very, very upset.  He gave a lot to the local community.

“We worked together on the boat festival and I was there from the start, but when he got involved it really took off.”

Mr Goodyear was co-chairman of Portsoy Community Enterprise, and also led the Banffshire Tourism Partnership before joining the board of Visit Aberdeenshire when the groups merged.

Visit Aberdeenshire chief executive, Chris Foy, said: “Roger was an exceptionally kind-hearted man whose wisdom and calm professionalism was truly valued by the whole team at Visit Aberdeenshire – and across the tourism industry.

“On a personal note, he made me – and I’m sure countless others – feel very welcome here in the north-east. We will miss him terribly.”

Mr Goodyear was particularly instrumental in regeneration projects in Portsoy.

He was part of the team that successfully restored the town’s former salmon bothy into a venue and museum, converted a former sail loft into a hostel for up to 25 people and was even involved with operating the town’s caravan park.

Mr Goodyear’s efforts at promoting the region to the rest of the world were recognised in 2015 when he was made an MBE for his services to tourism in Banffshire.

The endorsement was his second brush with royal recognition after being appointed vice-lord lieutenant of Banffshire by the Queen in 2011, making him second in line to Lord Lieutenant Clare Russell of Ballindalloch Castle.

Last month, Mr Goodyear was part of the delegation that met Prince Charles during a visit to Banff.

He grew up in Troon in South Ayrshire before moving to the region with his wife June after a career in marketing with Unilever, and latterly ran his own business.

Mr Goodyear is survived by his wife June, four children and six grandchildren.