Islanders annual gathering in Glasgow

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GLASGOW LEWIS AND HARRIS ASSOCIATION

The Glasgow Lewis and Harris Association follows a traditional pattern of having a Dinner on a Thursday evening and the following evening the two events of the Annual Gathering and Dance to follow.

This Dinner is the complimentary one held in honour of the Gathering Chair person nominated for the Annual Gathering the following evening.

There were many former Presidents in the audience who themselves had undertaken the Presidential duties on previous occasions and all were delighted with the way President Angela met all the challenges that such an evening presents.All the parts that make up an evening’s entertainment were present and the Association is proud of the way in which she takes on the daunting tasks with a dignity and decorum that puts everyone at their ease.

The meal served was excellent and appropriate but when the time came for the “speaking” parts the whole evening graduated to a level that could not be better.Marisa – the Guest Chair person was in sparkling form as she recalled and recounted just some of her many involvements and achievements in the world of Drama, TV appearances. Feisean and the multitude of other community based events.

The three Rudhachs at the top table were as ever deeply immersed in discussions and all three in their distinctive ways present to perform duties adding to the enjoyment of the evening.

As the after Dinner Speaker Professor Matthew Maciver the well known academic and educationist dipped in to memories of people and places and declared that Point was prepared to be on the brink of independence if that was to be on offer.The Toast to the Association was proposed by Christine Buchanan, President of Clydebank Highlanders and niece of the late Angus and Arthur MacIver who each served as President of the Glasgow Lewis and Harris Association. The MacIver Brothers were famous for their many compositions of humorous songs and in a fitting finale to the Toast, Christine and her sister ,Dorothy sang one of these songs of yesteryear, to the great delight of all present.The informal ceilidh following the Dinner brought greatly appreciated singing from Mairi Maclennan and a very fine piping selection from Alasdair Paterson. Committee member Annabel Maclennan proposed an excellent vote of thanks at the end of a most enjoyable evening.

Journeys home began and eager anticipation of the following evening’s Gathering.

129th ANNUAL GATHERING

This was a programme to be proud of with – due to other circumstances – only one Piper on duty but Piper Alasdair Paterson can fill the hall with playing tunes which demonstrates a mastery of the instrument.

Singers Murdo Macdonald, Mairi Maclennan, Calum Alex MacMillan, Catriona MacNeil earned loud appreciation from the audience and Charles Macleod with his accordion provided music of mainland and Lewis and Harris origin.

There was a solemn and short ceremony as part of the Gathering – the presentation of Cuach Comunn Leodhas agus na Hearadh and that is being reported on a separate report.

The evening was complete with Marisa Macdonald back on duty to create a homely atmosphere for Islanders and Highlanders alike. The shafts of wit and repartee glowed brighter than any outside fireworks.

The clock ticked relentlessly on and Committee Member Calum Smith condensed his appropriate vote of thanks to fit the time available.

As the last chorus of Soraidh Leibh faded to a close the hall was being emptied to make way for the Dancers to invade and give of their energy and enthusiasm.

From the early evening on Thursday through the Concert and the Dance this was a special “Annual gathering” A reminder to all of Lewis and Harris origin that congratulations and thanks are due to all those who participated in any way. Music for the Dance was expertly provided by the Heron Valley Dance Band.

Cuach Comunn Leodhais agus

NA HEARADH

The Annual Cuach Presentation has taken place for many years and is the honour conferred on people from all walks of life who have connections with the Long Island. For themselves they do not seek recognition but their deeds and actions speak volumes about their ability to put others before themselves.

Murdo and Dollag Macleod of Benside took parental joy and delight with their only son’s career in the Merchant Navy. Andrew followed in the footsteps of many of his fellow Islanders steadily climbing towards becoming a trained Marine Engineering Officer.

Success would certainly follow as a just reward for his determination to succeed and he found life on board fascinating and fulfilling. When time and opportunity allowed he would phone to Lewis from abroad to re-assure his loving parents that he was not forgetting them or his beloved Island and many friends.

Andrew’s young life came to an abrupt stop and he had passed away in his cabin on board ship in Hong Kong. No warning, no indication, and the beloved son of Murdo and Dollag Macleod became another victim of an undiagnosed heart condition.

Cruel statistics bring home to us that 80 per cent of young people can suffer a similar fate but screening has been shown to lead to an 89 per cent reduction in sudden cardiac death.

Murdo and Dollag are most grateful for the support of the screening programme and so far over 600 people have benefited.