A warm Hebridean welcome was afforded to Their Royal Highnesses the Earl and Countess of Wessex as they visited Stornoway this week.
On what was their first visit to the Western Isles since opening the Eriskay causeway 12-years ago the Earl and Countess took their time to visit and meet with a number of participants and volunteers of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, of which The Earl is a Trustee.
As well as representatives of the Stornoway Historical Society.
Other groups who were visited by the Royal couple were members of the Lifeskills Group, volunteers from the Pointers Failte Café and the Grow2work group.
The offices of the Harris Tweed Authority were the next port of call before they made the short walk through the streets of Stornoway, by now lined with well wishers and a musical performance from local teenagers’ band, Faram, to Martin’s Memorial Church.
At the church the pair officially open a new community facilty, The Shed.
The Shed, built beside Martin’s Memorial Church, took four years in planning and building, and cost a quarter of a million pounds, a third of which was raised by the Church congregation.
The facility, which was built on the site of an old salt shed dating back to the height of the Stornoway fishing industry, will enable the church to make new links with young people, families, and other members of the community.
Rev MacNeil, said: “We are very excited at the doors that The Shed will open for us.
“We look to meet both young and old and we will offer to journey with them and offer any support and encouragement we can to help them in their lives.
“We are indebted and sincerely grateful to the amazing congregation of Martin’s Memorial who continue to walk with us and partner with us in all the work we do as we seek to serve God and bring glory to Him in and through our community.”
The final stop in a busy morning for Their Royal Highnesses was the Drill Hall in Stornoway where they were met by a guard of honour by The Army and Air Cadets.
Inside the Drill Hall a number of groups met with the Earl and Countess including representatives of the Western Isles Guiding and Brownies, the Scouts, Beavers and Cubs, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Royal National Mission for Deep Sea Fishermen and the Stornoway Branch of the British Legion.
The Earl and Countess then continued their visit to the Hebrides with an engagement in Castlebay on Barra.
In the Southern Isles they met representatives of local youth and community groups, which included the Children’s Centre, Young Crofter Initiative, Buth Bharraigh, Garradh a Bhagh a’ Tuath, Voluntary Action Barra and Vatersay, The Hebridean Living Project and the Comunn Eachdraidh Bharraigh ’s Bhatarsaigh.