First Lady Flesher

Sarah Craig has become the first woman and third generation of Craigs to become a member of the Flesher craft.

Her family, who owned Robertson the Butchers, have been active in the Nine Incorporated Trades of Dundee for over 80 years and Sarah follows in the footsteps of her Grandfather Thomas Craig and Father David Craig, both Master Butchers.

David Craig was Deacon Convener of the Nine Incorporated Trades in 1986.

Sarah worked in the family business at various stages of her life, helping out during holidays and the busy Christmas periods where she has fond memories of taking orders and running the cash desk at the Union Street shop.  Sarah’s earliest memories are of sawdust on the floor and how she would love going into the shop as a child to see her ‘Papa Tom’. She said,

‘‘The business was initially owned and run by a relative on my paternal grandmother’s side of the family, hence the Robertson name.  My Papa bought it and the rest, as they say, is history.

‘‘He was a formidable force, a tough nut to crack and very much subscribed to the book of tough love – but as the first ‘girl’ in the family – I fully admit, he was putty in my hands and any time I went into the shop he would hang up his white coat and apron and take me shopping, always returning with toys and sweets.  Before he became a butcher, he was an Accountant, so despite the regular spoiling, he taught me the importance of hard work and at the age of 13, I was schooled in investing in stocks and shares.

‘‘When Dad took over, he had a vision to grow the business and bought the additional property in Broughty Ferry’s Brook Street where he opened a delicatessen with a café, butchery and bakery counter, selling wines, preserves and condiments that you couldn’t get at any supermarket at the time.  The concept was a good one and very successful, but neither my older brother or myself ever had the urge to take over – I was set on my career in journalism and communications and my brother only ever wanted to fly planes. Dad was hugely supportive of us both following our own chosen careers and, as he had worked ten-hour days minimum, six days a week, since the age of 14 – I think he was glad we had chosen our own paths.

‘‘We still laugh to this day about how I was born on a Saturday morning whilst Dad was in the middle of doing deliveries of his own. And yes, I continue to disrupt his life to this day, usually in the form of healthy debates coupled with several glasses of wine but always thankful and grateful for what both he and the business did for my life.’’

After graduating with a BA in Communications, Sarah joined D C Thomson as a news journalist working on the Courier, Evening Telegraph and Sunday Post.

In 1997 she joined Tayside Police becoming Digital Media and Communications Manager. During her police career, Sarah was involved in crafting the communication strategies around major crime enquiries – everything from murders, sudden deaths, fatal road accidents, to parcel bomb attacks and major events such as the G8 Summit, T in the Park Music Festival and the Open Golf Championships.  Sarah worked with the Home Office to develop the interview process for the Police National Assessment Centre – creating scenario testing for officers looking to progress to Chief Officer ranks.  For 17 years she was also a Lecturer in Media Relations on the Initial Detective Training Course at the Scottish Police College, Tulliallan.  She was National Chairman of APPRO, the Association of Police Public Relations Officers, working closely with Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland, a role that saw her seconded to lead on all communications resulting from the 2006 St Andrews Peace Summit between the British and Irish governments and Northern Ireland’s political parties, including the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein, in relation to the devolution of power in the region.

In 2014, Sarah left the police service to take up the position of City Centre Manager in Dundee where she had responsibility for leading on the official opening of Slessor Gardens and was Event Manger of the official opening party for the V&A.  She was an Executive member of the DD One business group and was also managed the annual Christmas Light Switch on. Sarah was instrumental in bringing concerts to Slessor Gardens – everyone from Little Mix to Olly Murs, Simple Minds and Tom Jones.  Sarah remains an Event Consultant in the music industry.

Sarah is now Communications Manager with SSE’s Thermal division, with her focus on all things hydrogen capture, storage and transportation.

She has an ILM Diploma in Leadership, is a trained ASIST Suicide Intervention and Prevention First Aider and graduated in 2022 with a post graduate diploma in Professional Development and Leadership from the University of Dundee. She is a Board Member and Burgess of the City of Dundee.

Sarah added,

‘‘I’m hugely honoured to have been welcomed into the Nine Incorporated Trades as both a Flesher and a Baker.  It’s not only important to me that my family legacy continues, but that the trades as a whole continue to thrive. However, as a butcher and a baker, I am left wondering where the candlestick makers are hiding?’’