From the Butt to Barra

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GREAT BERNERA

Duke of Edinburgh Award - At the recent annual DofE presentation three local children achieved their bronze awards. Congratulations go to Jessica Macaulay, Andrew Macinnes and Rachael Smith. Well done all.

School News - Unfortunately there are not enough children in the school for the annual Christmas play so instead there will be festive singing in Gaelic and English on Wednesday 17 December at 7.30pm. Please come along and support this event.

Community Council – Current works are being done at the Iron Age House to repair fencing to protect the area from local livestock. This should be completed shortly.

If you have a rat problem, local residents can get a loan of a rat trap from the Community Council. Traps can be collected from the Community Centre and please return them asap for others who may require them. Please contact Misty, Calum Richings or C J Macinnes.

Well done and a grateful thanks to those who continue to clean the local toilet facilities throughout the community, especially over the busy summer period. A great job is being done.

Thanks to John Murray for his work over the Summer, cutting the grass at the pitch and painting the picnic benches.

Community Centre – Vegetables from the local poly tunnels are available for local pensioners. A limited amount is freely available for you to come and collect at certain times. Barry Shelby has further details.

Christmas bingo will be on Friday 12 December at 7.30pm at the Community Centre. This is to raise funds for festive events so please come along for an enjoyable evening and support this event.

Anyone who would like to start a whist evening in the New Year please contact Catriona Macleod so we can gauge the level of interest. We are also trying to ascertain demand and support for the café to be open on Friday evenings serving snacks and takeaways.

Community Café is open on Tuesday and Thursday 1-3pm. Please come along and support.

Zumba classes Tuesday evening. All ages and abilities are welcome.

Sharon Morrison holds Circuit Training classes in the Centre on Monday evenings.

There is a bowls club in the Centre on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

UIg

Wedding congratulations - the sun shone brightly out of a cloudless sky on Friday, November 28th, for the wedding of Norman William Mackay, 7 Reef and Hannah Leach, North Bragar, who were married in Barvas Church, with the reception in Uig Community Centre.

We all congratulate Norrie and wish the new Mr and Mrs Mackay, a long and happy future together.

Condolences - on Thursday, November 20th, a funeral service, prior to interment at Valtos Cemetery, was held in the Free Presbyterian Church, Miavaig, for William Urquhart [Bill] who passed away unexpectedly at his home in Renfrew the previous week.

A service had been held in Glasgow earlier in the week. The Miavaig service was conducted by Re. Alan MacColl, Ness, and the congregation of relatives, neighbours and friends present recalled that they had gathered there just two years earlier for the funeral of Bill’s wife, Isa, who was formerly Smith, of 30 Valtos.

The sympathy of the local community is extended to Murdo, Glasgow, and Iseabail, New Zealand, on the loss of their father and to the Smith and Urquhart families

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DINGWALL

Rev K D Macleod minister of Invergordon Church Of Scotland will conduct the last gaelic service of this year in the Dingwall community centre on Tulloch Street on Sunday the 7th of December. Refreshments will be served after the worship which begins at the usual time of 3pm and all are welcome.

ness

Habost death - On Wednesday 26th November we were all sad with the news that after a short illness, John drummond, of 48 Habost, had passed away in the Bethesda Hospice, where he had latterly been attended to.

John, who was aged 64 years, and formely from Fife, was well known locally from ealier years, when he was the last resident keeper at the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse, before it became automated in March 1998.

Since that time, John, as a local crofter, was actively engaged in all crofting activities until shortly before the end.

It is expected that the funeral of John will be held to Habost cemetery on Monday 1st December.

In their time of sorrow we share and extend our thoughts in sympathy to his wife Sheila, daughters, Kirstin and Gail, and Karen with her son Ryan, his son Iain, and all other close family relatives who mourn in the passing of John.

Cross Skigersta death - The morning of Thursday 27th November brought further sadness to us, with the news that Alexander Murray of 36 Cross Skigersta Road (Alasdair Dhomhnuill Dirich), had passed away in the Western Isles Hospital, where he had been taken to on Wednesday evening from Dun Berisay Care Home, where he had latterly been attended to for respite care. He was aged 78 years.

In earlier years Alasdair had been a Harris Tweed weaver, and actively shared in all crofting related work in the community.

Following wake worship in Cross Free Church on the evening of Friday, the funeral service there on Saturday was taken by Rev. Ewen Matheson, who had been newly inducted as the minister of teh Cross Free Church congregation on the previous evening.

He was assisted in prayer by Rev. Roderick John Campbell, North Tolsta, former Interim Moderator of the congregation.

Singing of praise was led by Donald Macleod, Deacon, South Dell, and by Norman Smith, Elder from Ayr, who is formerly from Habost. Rev. Matheson officiated at the graveside in the cemetery.

We share our sympathy with his nephew Donald in the family home, and the neighbours and friends who mourn in this bereavement.

Church service - Thanksgiving Day services were held in the Ness churches last week, reminding us of the abundance of material blessings which we are able to share in.

We pray that the many throughout the world who are not so fortunate as we are, would, in their need, also share in the produce of the world’s harvest.

Cross induction - On the evening of Friday 28th November, a large number of people from Ness and many outwith the Ness area, assembled in Cross Free Church for the induction service of Rev. Ewen Matheson, formerly of North Uist, to the congregation of Cross.

After the church service, conducted by Rev. Calum Iain Macleod, Crossbost, Moderator of Presbytery, with singing of praise led by Rev. Calum Iain Macleod, Back, and CalumMorrison, Elder, Callanish, everyone made their way to Spors Nis at Lionel School for the reception, given to Rev. and Mrs Matheson, and where a feast of good things had been prepared by the ladies of the congregation.

Western Isles

Heating fund - RSABI, Scotland’s charity helping people who have depended on the land, has launched a new ‘Help for Heating Fund’ to address the misery of fuel poverty.

It is widely recognised that rural fuel poverty is consistently higher than the national average with older people being particularly vulnerable. Whilst energy efficiency improvements can help, they alone cannot lift people out of fuel poverty in the context of rising fuel prices and low fixed incomes.

RSABI recognises that many households will be inadequately heated in the months to come. With the weather changing and winter around the corner, many people will be worrying about paying their energy bills.

The Help for Heating Fund has been set up to help alleviate the effects of fuel hardship for those who have depended on the land but are now unable to work. The application is simple and there is an allocated fund available specifically for this purpose, with help coming in the form of a fixed grant of £300 for successful applicants.

Ring the RSABI office in confidence for more information 0131 472 4166 OR visit the website www.rsabi.org.uk

SCALPAY

Moderator Designate - The Moderator Designate for the 2015 General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) is Rev Kenneth Macdonald (65), minister of the Free Church Continuing congregation in Scalpay.

Brought up on the Island of Lewis, in Bayble Point, Mr Macdonald trained as a joiner and spent a number of years in the building trade and as a grocer.

His conversion in 1983 brought important changes in outlook and Mr Macdonald went on to engage in short- term mission work in Bangladesh working for Tear Fund, leading a team of students doing voluntary work at a hospital complex.

Nor did it stop there, because in 1989 he went to South Africa, with his family, as an artisan missionary, building new churches and renovating some of the older church buildings.

There he also began to preach for the first time, out of necessity due to the shortage of preachers, and became conscious of being called by the Lord to serve as a minister. That call led to a return to Scotland to study for the ministry.

Ordained in 1997, he was minister in Snizort, on the Isle of Skye, for eleven years. Since 2008 he has been minister on the Island of Scalpay.

Mr Macdonald has represented the Church in Australia and in Zambia, preached at conferences in America and England and serves on the National Committee of the Scottish Reformation Society.

He has also, on several occasions, led groups to visit Israel.

In such spare time as he has, he enjoys sea fishing, woodwork and reading political biographies.

Married to Coleen, he has two married sons: Mark (an operations officer with Scottish Natural Heritage) and Greg (Minister of the Free Church Continuing in Ness).

Edinburgh

Ceilidh - Saturday the 13th December sees an informal ceilidh taking place at the Augustine United Church George IV Bridge 7.30 to 10pm.

Admission is £5 (Members £4) and accompanied children free.

Tea/Coffee with home-baking will be served at the interval. Tickets available at the door on the night.

Appearing are the Lothian Gaelic Choir (solo and musical items from choir members)

Mayhem (Fiddle, Accordion and guitar tunes and songs).

And also piper Neil MacLure.