Orkney sheep farmer with 20 jobs dubbed Britain's hardest-working man

Billy MuirImage copyright
Daily Mirror

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Billy Muir keeps his own sheep as well as doing voluntary work around the island

An Orkney sheep farmer who holds down a total of 20 jobs has been dubbed Britain’s hardest-working man.

Billy Muir’s roles include firefighter, rubbish collector, lighthouse keeper and airport worker.

The 67-year-old, from North Ronaldsay, also works as an electrician, builder and tour guide.

His volunteering efforts were recognised with a Community Partner award at the Pride of Britain ceremony in London on Monday.

Mr Muir said he has no plans to retire as he enjoys working among the island’s 50-strong community so much.

‘It makes me happy’

He told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “I’ve been the lighthouse keeper at the North Ronaldsay lighthouse for some 47 years.

“I’ve been a firemen on the island for the Scottish Fire and Rescue team for 33 years, and a fireman at North Ronaldsay airfield for about 11 years.

“And I’ve been a contractor on the island for most of my working lifetime.”

Mr Muir added: “I’ve spent most of my life in the lighthouse service and that means a lot to me.

“It’s something you dedicate yourself to doing as long as you’re able to. There is no retiring age now and that’s the reason I’ve clocked up so many years.

“It’s made me very happy, and it keeps me fit. As long as I keep fit and healthy I’ve got no plans to retire.”

Mr Muir says his volunteering work, including that as a retained firefighter, is borne out of necessity on such a small island.

Willing hand

He said: “If you’re a willing hand you get lumbered with the job.

“But we’re a very close-knit community and we rely on each other all the time to keep the island going. The sheep are a major part of that because it takes the whole island to round them up.

“It’s not an easy task to round up 2,500 sheep on a shoreline. We’re like one big family.”

Mr Muir’s wife Isobel, 76, said: “He does a lot of work for the community when I would like him to be doing more work around here.”

But she added: “It’s worth it. I’ve often wondered where the island would be if he didn’t do all those jobs.

“He contributes so much to everything that goes on. It’s an ageing population and he’s one of the people that’s still strong and fit enough to do all this work.”

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