DAVID Thomlinson's memory will live on not only for his skill in the auction ring, but also for the words of wisdom he passed on to the next generation of auctioneers.

For 57 years he had worked at Carlisle-based livestock auctioneers, Harrison & Hetherington, and was one of the most highly regarded auctioneers of his generation.

This and David's love and passion for the Limousin breed rightly earned him the title of "legend".

His welcoming smile and the fact that he had time for a chat labelled him as a 'genuine gentleman'.

And it was these reasons that his death at the age of 73, sent shockwaves through the farming and business world.

David passed away following a tragic accident while working with a newborn calf at his farm at Scaleby, near Carlisle last weekend.

During his time at H&H David was a director and senior auctioneer and his reputation had spread across the globe not only in the auctioneering world as an expert of pedigree cattle, but as a judge of his beloved Limousin breed at major shows and sales.

David and his wife Sheila owned a pedigree Limousin herd at their 81ha farm, which they started in 1978 under the prefix Beeches.

His former colleagues at H&H led the tributes to him saying he would be remembered for his outstanding dedication to the livestock auctioneering world, within H&H throughout the UK and across the world. "Fellow auctioneers have paid heartfelt tributes to David, which has shown the impact he has made within the livestock auctioneering business. He had a great attribute to develop and mentor the next generation of auctioneers and today we see and hear some of his skills which have been passed on to them to allow them to become the great people they are standing in the rostrum."

David was a former president of the British Limousin Cattle Society (BLCS), which released a statement on Facebook saying it was "truly shocked and saddened".

The statement said: “On behalf of BLCS Council, members, and all staff, heartfelt condolences are extended to Sheila and family at this very sad time.

“In so many ways, David has been such a huge and important part of the livestock industry in the UK and, of course, in the development and promotion of the Limousin breed, cattle that he loved with a never-ending passion.

“Through his work with H&H, and with his affinity to Limousin cattle, David’s mark on British Limousin extends the mantle of him being a true legend of the breed. He was always happy selling cattle well on behalf of vendors and to new entrants as they got a start."

David was also the chair of the National Beef Association’s (NBA) Policy Committee and the Northern Region. He had been a member of the NBA since its inception.

He was awarded the prestigious 2011 Blamire Award for services in promoting the Cumberland farming industry and had helped to shape NBA over a number of years, particularly in the regeneration of its northern sector.

As an auctioneer, one of his first proud moments was the sale of a Texel shearling ram, Loosebeare Imp, in 2003 which sold for 120,000gns.

Another was the sale of the prize-winning Limousin bull, Haltcliffe Vermont, who sold for a then world Limousin record price of 100,000gns in 2006, followed by selling the impressive maiden heifer Glenrock Illusion, belonging to the Illingworth family from Eaglesfield, Lockerbie, in 2014, starting the bidding off at 10,000gns before seeing it rise for a record price of 125,000gns.

Paying tribute, Adam Day, managing director at The Farmer Network, based in Penrith, said he was sure David crowned the phrase 'use us or lose us'. "Simply put, he was a farmer's man."

“In remembering him as an auctioneer and a gentleman, my mind turns to the other part of his job that few people remember.

“Having to run the largest auction company in the country through the carnage of BSE, foot-and-mouth and all the other hard times must have been immense pressure.

“Around the auction he always had time for a word and some banter, even with visiting auctioneers.”

He added: “I attended many meetings with David for the Livestock Auctioneers Association. He always spoke with great conviction, great knowledge and great common sense. He was inspirational in his support of the auction system and the wider industry.

“As a young auctioneer, I and quite a few others, aspired to be like David Thomlinson," added Adam.

David was born and brought up in Cumbria and after leaving Carlisle Grammar School began working for H&H as an office boy based in Botchergate. During his career he took his surveying exams and then moved into auctioneering and rose through the ranks to become managing director, a role he held for four years.

He was a former chairman of the Cumberland Show and president of the Young Farmers.

A celebration of David's life will take place at All Saint's Church, Scaleby, near Carlisle on Tuesday, June 18 at 12pm. Donations to All Saints Church and a farming charity.