Mark Murrary now lives in Melbourne, Australia, but recently made the 10,000 mile trip back to his home town – and was blown away by the redevelopment of the South Road site.
He said: “I am very proud of my Northumbrian roots and my immediate family are still in the Glendale locality. As a boy I remember seeing Redpath’s lorries on the farm transporting livestock, and it was very sad when the business closed.
"The last time I was home I drove past the derelict yard, so when I returned last week, I was blown away to see how it has been transformed.
New gin trail launched with 43 stop off points in Blyth, Seaton Delaval, Whitley Bay, Tynemouth and North Shields
Councillor urges public 'not to worry' about proposed Britishvolt factory in Cambois, and insists construction is on schedule
Cramlington firm driving down average age of its drivers with fast-track training
Glendale Engineering expansion plan approved
North East ice cream shops to visit this summer with your family
“Wooler has always been home, and it always will be. Since leaving the area I have continued to support various local initiatives such as the Wooler Fountain Restoration Appeal, and as a whisky collector (and consumer!)
"I couldn’t miss the chance to become a founding member of the first Northumbrian whisky distillery located in my hometown.”
Mark was born and brought up at Weetwood Farm and played rugby for Alnwick and Berwick in his youth. He has lived in Australia for 12 years.
The £10.5m distillery and visitor centre is due to open this autumn, although it will be 2025 before the first single malt will be tasted.
Mark said: “I am counting down the days until I can taste a wee nip of the Single Malt and am very proud to be part of something unique in my homeland.
"I’ll be back in a couple of years’ time to celebrate my 50th birthday and am very much looking forward to seeing the distillery up and running.”
He is the first international member of its Corenkyn package offering lifetime access to the exhibition and distillery tours and recognition within the new building. There will also be a bottle of Ad Gefrin spirit every year for eight years.
Ad Gefrin’s Sharon Howey said: “It’s incredible to welcome our first member from the other side of the world, especially one who has firm roots and links with the area.
“The word ‘Corenkyn’ comes from the Old English words for ‘chosen’ and ‘family’. Our Corenkyn members will be a very special part of the Ad Gefrin family.”