Born: 11 July, 1946; Died: 16 September, 2012.
Hector McPhee, who has died aged 66, was one of the few remaining small-scale horse-dealers in the north-east of Scotland. He also devoted the last 30 years building and renovating traditional wagons and carts.
From the age of eight days, he was on the road with his parents with horse and cart, trying to make a living in a fast-changing post-war Scotland. By the end of the 1950s horse-dealing, hawking and tinsmithing were rapidly in decline as mass production and mass consumerism challenged the travellers' traditional way of life.
Mr McPhee often reflected on his experience as a young traveller, when travelling families were still welcome in the countryside and were often offered casual work, places to stop over, and grazing for the horses.
Although, like the majority of travellers, he chose to settle in communities across Scotland, he never stopped encouraging his children and grandchildren to take to the road whenever they could.
He chose to live in a council house in Keith, where he stayed with his late wife, Mary, for 35 years.
Mr McPhee was proud to point out a common misconception within the wider community: that when a traveller settles in a house, or official council site, they are no longer travellers. He maintained travelling people are a distinct ethnic group with ancient nomadic origins. "We are not gypsies," he once said, "we are Celtic with Scottish, Irish and Gaelic links going back hundreds of years- and we are not going away any time soon."
Until his death, Mr McPhee's home in Keith was always full of the craic and debate about the politics of travellers' life. He was also politically active, writing to prime ministers, first ministers and local authorities with suggestions and complaints about the plight of travellers.
The main issue that concerned him in recent years was the lack of and closure of stopover sites where families could safely stop for a few days without being harassed by the authorities.
Mr McPhee is survived by 12 children, 36 grandchildren and 11 great grand-children.
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