70 Years Young

24 April 2024

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Our Story - Fuelling Excellence Since 1954

Gleaner Limited, the noted distributor of oil, gas, lubricants and newer, more environmentally friendly products including commercial HVO, celebrates the 70th anniversary of its incorporation today.

On 24 April 1954, Robin Young incorporated the then named Gleaner Oils Limited (the name coming from the verb “to glean”, as in to glean from the sea and to glean from the land), initially to support another of his businesses, The Arthur Duthie Organisation – which at one time had the largest seine netting fleet in the UK, all along the north east coast of Scotland. Gleaner has grown beyond all recognition since, especially in the last ten years, and now serves communities from dozens of outlets (including owned and branded filling stations), all the way from Thurso in the north to Essex in the south. Importantly however the owning family has never lost sight of Mr Young’s original ethos of humility, serving the community and treating its staff as if they were members of the owners’ family.

Robin Young died in 1968, and Gleaner passed 50/50 to his 28 year old son Evan and his 31 year old brother Brian. Evan in particular was revered wherever he went, being the true embodiment of the two word expression gentle man. Sadly Evan, who was utterly devoted to his latterly disabled wife, died all too soon at Archerfield Golf Club, in the company of his son in law Stephen Scott in 2010, immediately after having played a round of golf showcasing the very best of his limited skills at the game. His daughter Jane acceded to his 50% ownership, whilst Stephen carried on with his thriving commercial law career in a large Edinburgh partnership. By 2014, Brian wanted to retire, so Jane and Stephen bought out his 50% share and assumed 100% ownership between them.

Since then, led magnificently by David Todd, who stepped up to become Managing Director, the changes in the company have been both manifest and manifold – the significance of dropping “Oils” from the name being reflective of the evolving marketplace which Gleaner willingly embrace, as everyone moves towards a greener future; Gleaner are not interested in carbon offset but choose instead to focus upon carbon eradication.
Jane and Stephen have never lost sight of the overarching ethos, and the various lessons from which they both benefitted at Evan’s teaching. They are proudly anticipating 1 July, when their son, also Evan, will become a fourth generation shareholder in the business. Young Evan has shadowed his parents in the business for many years as they are not prone to blind nepotism, and he is in no doubt about the importance of the ethos, nor of his responsibility towards Gleaner’s many wonderful staff.

In late September 2023, Evan and Operations Director Garry Reaper accepted a highly prestigious award from Moray Chamber of Commerce, who had adjudged Gleaner to be the company which had made the most outstanding contribution to the economy of Moray in the preceding year – something of which Jane, as a Lossie girl, and Stephen, as an Elgin boy, are enormously proud. Impressed by the work which MCC does for the area, Gleaner have since enthusiastically signed up to be a Platinum Partner of MCC, both now and in the future.
“Since joining Gleaner 20 years ago, I have always been impressed with our staff and their commitment to our customers. We have shied away from call centres and kept our bases in the communities we supply. Being local goes back to the founding principals of the business, and this won’t change as we move forward. Can I thank everyone who has worked for Gleaner over the last 70 years, and of course a larger thank you to our customers who have supported the business in the past, present and hopefully in the future”  David Todd - Managing Director

Having retired some time ago from the Law, Stephen has amongst other things been indulging his love of all things local and sporting, whilst also embracing the huge contribution both to the community and to Gleaner made by Gleaner’s staff in places like Islay, Mull and some places even more far flung.  This has led to all of Jane, Evan and David having to tolerate his energy and passion for community sports.

Gleaner’s sponsorship of sporting organisations and events plays a crucial role in supporting communities, by providing financial resources that enable the events to take place. These sponsorships often extend beyond simply funding the event itself, as they contribute to the overall development and well-being of the communities involved. 
Additionally, these sponsorships can lead to increased participation in sports, improved infrastructure, and the creation of opportunities for local athletes to excel on a larger stage, ultimately benefiting the community as a whole.

Gleaner’s sporting involvement runs from The Gleaner Arena in Elgin, the brainchild of the Scotts’ good friend Dave Allen. Like Dave, they see this as being for the benefit not just of Elgin but also outlying towns and villages like Hopeman, Lossie, not to mention of course Stephen’s beloved Elgin City FC, to sponsorship of The Scottish Series Regatta 2024 hosted in Tarbert on the west coast of Loch Fyne and SurfABLE Scotland, who provide surfing therapy to the neurodiverse and disabled community - it gave much pleasure to see their inspirational athletes competing in the world championships in California recently.
Moray RFC is considered to be “The Big One”. The very phrase brings back memories of Evan Senior, who to this day retains the status of Club Legend. Evan excelled as a loosehead prop for Merchiston, West Of Scotland, North & Midlands and ultimately Moray, where he captained the Club to the Bibby Trophy in its 50th year, 1973. Jane smiles ruefully at a story which sums up the modesty for which he was known, when he was invited to go for a Scotland trial, but didn’t go because ”I didn’t think I was good enough!”. When, last year, Stephen was casting restlessly around for another club to benefit from Gleaner’s renowned generosity (he being a self - confessed and unrepentant football nut), it was Young Evan (who by contrast also represented Merchiston as loosehead prop, before injury brought his Rugby progress to a premature end) who suggested Moray, as a centenary year tribute to his eponymous grandfather. Thus was born an initial 5 year, six figure, sponsorship deal, and all associated with Gleaner are truly humbled by the generosity of spirit with which Moray have embraced Gleaner’s outstretched hand of friendship.

Gleaner would consider it remiss not to mention its wonderful staff, both past and present, including Billy Laing and Ian Shayer (and not forgetting the inimitable Charlie Lowdon), who have benefitted Gleaner with all their talent, dedication and ambition, and who in turn have benefitted from the paternalistic attitude which persists today, which has enabled so many dozens of people to flourish over lengthy periods, and which offers the comfort of real job security for those currently at the helm. 

In conclusion, the Scotts are very much looking forward to leading Gleaner into the next 70 years of its existence, both in Moray and all-round the country.  The play on words which is the slogan “70 Years Young”, now augmented by a further strapline which says it all – “Fuelling Excellence since 1954”.

Gleaner Ltd 70th Anniversary 24/04/24
Gleaner Ltd 70th Anniversary 24/04/24

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