20 years ago - April 3rd 1997
International sports chance - Athletes and sportsmen on the Islands could soon have a chance of international competition to sharpen up their skills and talents.
A delegation from the Island Games Association based in the Isle of Man, visited Stornoway last week to meet top Council officials, councillors and the members of the newly founded local games committee and representatives of Western Isles Enterprise .
And along with the communities of Cayman Islands and Rhodes, the Western Isles bid to join the association will be considered by the general meeting of its 21 members before this year’s games on Jersey in July.
The games last a week, cover up to 14 different sports, and involve up to 2,000 competitors.
The aim of the Games, which are held every two years on odd numbered years in order to avoid clashing with events like the Olympics, is to break down the isolation of remote communities, to enable the interchange of ideas which can stimulate sports development and to give the athletes in these places something to aim at and train for at an international level.
They were founded in 1985 in the Isle of Man as part of a Year of Sport paid for by the Manx Government.
They have since been held in Guernsey the Faroes, Aland, Isle of Wight and Gibraltar.
30 years ago - April 4th 1987
Hope for rural schools? - The population of the Western Isles is expected to grow according to the base projections of the General Registrar’s Office in Scotland.
This shows the population rising to 30,900 in 1992, to 31,719 in 1996, before falling slightly, and rising again to 31,408 by 2001.
“This seems to buck the general trend of declining population mentioned in the Review of Educational Provision in the Western Isles.
“It also backs up the point made by some school groups that closures or rural schools may be premature”, said Mr Alasdair Nicholson, speaking on behalf of the Education Liaison Committee of the Lewis Council of Social Service.
He went on to welcome the Scottish Conservative Party’s discussion paper titled: “Scotland The Next Five Years”.
Mr Nicholson continued, “This says there is little meaningful participation in the management and governing of schools.
“And it also poses the question why should school councils not have executive as well as advisory powers?”
He concluded: “The need to strengthen parents’ powers is highlighted by the Educational Review procedure, particularly when parents wish to see a positive role for the rural schools, which may be faced with an uncertain future at this time”.
40 years ago - April 2nd 1977
Gaelic Commands - A Highland regiment in the USA plan to issue commands in Gaelic with a little help from An Comunn Gaidhealach.
The 71st Highland Regiment (Frasers Highlanders) have written to An Comunn in Stor noway asking for the Gaelic equivalent of several commands, such as “Half Cock Your Firelock”, “Replace Your Rammers” and “Handle Your Cartridge”.
On behalf of the regiment, Alfred E. Schudel, Jr., 1319 Limit Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland, wrote, “We are a recreated Highland regiment of the 1775 period and are as faithful in our dress, drill, knowledge and conduct as written history allows us to be.
“To help us become more authentic, we would like to issue our commands in the Gaelic language. Written history has left us the English commands of the period and we fully realise there may not be Gaelic words to translate some of them, but the words may exist to issue the command which will accomplish the desired manoeuvre.”
Mr Schudel concluded, ‘Several of us have enough knowledge of the language to pronounce the words if you will supply them.”
There are almost forty commands to be translated.
Mr Allan Macdonald, Assistant Director of An Comunn, would welcome suggestions from military-minded Gaelic speakers.