Butt to Barra District News

editorial image


Condolences - The Old Year ended here on a very sad note with the death at Ospadal nan Eilean on December 30th of Mrs Katie Bell Buchanan, 8 Valtos, who had been a patient there for several weeks and who had been very much in the thoughts of the local community during that time.

Her funeral in Uigean Church of Scotland was held on New Year’s Day following the church services and, like the wake service the previous evening, was exceptionally well-attended as relatives and friends from Ness and other island areas, joined with locals to pay their last respects.

The funeral service was conducted by Rev Hugh M Stewart, assisted by Rev Roddy Morrison, retired, Free Church, and on the previous evening, he was assisted by Rev William Macleod, senior minister of the congregation and Rev Stephen Mathews, retired, UF Church.

Katie Bell, who was from Habost, Ness, arrived here as Nursing Sister Mackenzie to the Miavaig district in 1963 and soon became well known and well respected throughout the community as she carried out her nursing duties.

Like her predecessors, her tenure of the Nurses’ Cottage, Miavaig, was not destined to be of long standing. In December1966, she married John Buchanan, 8 Valtos, and settled with him into the family home, and as anyone who ever called there can say, it was a happy, welcoming and hospitable home.

Over the years, in the course of the family caretaking duties at the Valtos Centre, she also did her part in welcoming and helping the many visitors who used it.

The personal qualities which had enhanced her nursing career came into play in every aspect of her life and especially in the neighbourhood where she showed what it takes to be a good neighbour, and from where she is now so sadly missed.

The deep sympathy of the community is extended to Shonnie, her sorely bereaved husband, and to her sons, Finlay Norman and Calum George, to her daughter in law, Mairi, and her little grandson, Fionnlagh, whose arrival two years ago was such a great joy to her.

Katie Bell is survived by her two younger twin sisters, Mairi, in Habost, and Catherine in Glasgow, and by her older brother, Norman, in London and condolences from the community are extended to all of the family circle at this sad time.

The news of the death of Neil Angus Mackenzie, of Tobson, Bernera, was received here with great sadness as he had relatives in Uig and was also well known here as a tradesman.

Deep sympathy from Uig is extended to Mrs Dolly Mackenzie, her three sons and their families and the wider Mackenzie family circle at this sad time.

New Year Arrivals - there’s a familiar saying that dark threads are as needful in our lives as threads of gold and silver and as well as our sadness at the start of this year, there’s been good news.

We have all been delighted to welcome the lovely news of the arrival of a baby daughter and first child to Hannah and Norrie Mackay, Reef and Bragar, and then a few days later, a baby girl for Mairi and Calum George Buchanan, Valtos, a sister for Fionnlagh.

What a promising start to 2016; if this trend continues population decline will soon be out of the window.


Weather - As the days start to get visibly longer there are still concerns about the uncertainty of the weather. Fortunately, nobody was hurt when a lamppost located near the school simply snapped at its base and fell over with the force of the wind. Icy roads have also resulted in minor incidents and there are still patches of ice in the more sheltered areas.

Ceilidh na Gaidhlig - People are sluggish during the month of January and dont find it easy to get motivated but Clann an La De have come up with a solution for this by hosting a Ceilidh na Gaidhlig in the Shawbost Old School on Friday 29th January at 7.30pm.

Music, gaelic songs, piping, and gaelic drama should guarantee a fantastic evening of entertainment with tea and coffee with home baking included in the entry price, now, who would want to miss this ?

Harris Tweed - It is wonderful to see the building works going on at the Shawbost Harris Tweed mill as they move ahead with their development plans but we were saddened to hear the difficulties being experienced by the Carloway mill and hope that a solution can be found quickly to ensure continued employment for the staff and weavers.


Sympathy - The Community was deeply shocked and saddened by the recent passing of Neil Angus Mackenzie on 1 January 2016 after a short illness.

Neil Angus was born in Tobson, Bernera on the 14th April 1942. He was one of 10 children born to Norman and Peggy Mackenzie.

After leaving school he took out his apprenticeship as a joiner with Angus Macleod Contractor, Stornoway (Aonghas a’ Bhard).

He then went to Fort William to work in the Pulpmill. From there he left for the Isle of Mull where he worked for 8 years in partnership with Alasdair Maclean, formerly from Leurbost.

He then worked for a year at the Rocket range in Benbecula before returning back to Lewis where he married Dolly whom he had met in Mull while working there.

After getting married he worked as Foreman joiner with Macleods of Skye before deciding to start up on his own some years later.

Neil Angus and Dolly came back to live in the family home in Tobson in 1975 and were blessed with three sons, Norman Angus, Calum Iain, Don Neil who are all married on the island with their own families.

We all send our sincere condolences to Dolly and all the family and friends at this very sad time. Neil Angus was very involved in many aspects of our community including the Church and he was a very active crofter. He will be greatly missed throughout the island.

Community Centre - There will be a meal night with set menu on Saturday 30th January and bookings can be made by calling Karina or Chrissie.

Whist is on Fridays at 7.30 pm and all are welcome.

Details of events should be on the Bernera Community Association Facebook page.


Bethesda Lunch - Margaret will be hosting the Annual Bethesda Hospice Lunch on Saturday 23 January 2016 in the Community Centre from 12 noon to 2pm.

We hope to have the usual stalls and anyone wishing to donate items should contact Margaret on 890 463. Donations of baking are especially welcomed!

Bethesda Hospice offers the reassurance of round the clock expert care for loved ones living with a terminal illness, in a friendly and welcoming environment and there are no words to describe how valuable it is to the Island.

Fund raising is never easy and is becoming increasingly competitive; Margaret and her team feel that this annual fund raising event in the village is very important, and the community of Tolsta can justly feel proud having raised over £16,000 over the past 10 years.

Please take two hours out on Saturday afternoon to attend the lunch, enjoy time with friends and help this worthwhile cause.

Everyone is welcome and thank you in advance it will be nice to see you.

Our picture above may lead us to think spring must be in the air with perhaps the first sheep of the year born in the Islands. The lamb was born on January 8th 2016 on the croft of John Angus and Helen MacAulay at 1 Ardharsaig, Harris and is from the Dorset Down breed. The couple have kept this lovely breed for many years now and said they usually lamb much earlier than any other sheep.