Butt to Barra District News January 12th


Bereavement - The ‘festive season’ has been a very sad one for us this year with bereavement after bereavement leaving families grieving and empty places in our midst from mid-November onwards, so that Xmas and New Year passed almost unnoticed.

Neilina Macleod, 8 Aird, aged 86, our retired district nurse, passed away at Ospadal nan Eilean after a short illness.

She was a person who gave exceptional service to both Uig and Bernera communities as nurse over many years, being one of the old school of nursing, capable of coping very professionally with every demand community health care could make of her and very supportive to us all in times of need.

She was also very active in community affairs, in the village and in the whole area, a long-serving member of the Community Council and the Association which preceded it, an organiser of and generous contributor to fund-raising events.

She was the last of the Macdonald family from Tobson, Bernera, who moved to 8 Ardroil in the 1940s, a family who were a very welcome addition to the village in their day, and who were characterised by their friendliness and good humour. Her funeral was held on December 17, at the Free Presbyterian Church, Miavaig, a congregation of which she was a faithful adherent.

Condolences are extended to her husband, Calum Iain, at home in Aird and their only son, Calum Murdo.

Passed away - On December 16, an exceptionally long life came to a peaceful end when Catherine Matheson, 6 Ardroil, passed away at home after a short illness.

She was halfway through her 103rd year of life, and, even at that great age, was in possession of all her faculties to within hours of her passing.

She retained her interest in everything going on around her, happily kept track of three generations of her own family, of all the carers who attended to her and of the many visitors who came to see her, with an unfailingly warm welcome for everyone.

Her death is certainly the end of an era as she was the last link with the many notable events of her long life.

Born in the then crowded village of Islivig, one of a family of nine, she experienced crofting land raids, re-settlement at Carnish where her wedding to Malcolm Matheson, Ardroil, was the first held there for over 80 years and two World Wars.

She was always a very hard-working person, fully engaged in every aspect of her life, a life devoted to home and family and one, as she often recounted, in which she had much to be thankful for.

Her presence is now very much missed by her family, her relatives, friends and neighbours. We have been left a shining example of how to live our lives and how to die.

Catherine possessed a strong faith, she was a professing member of the Church of Scotland congregation for nearly 50 years, her main interest was her church and latterly, she made no secret of her desire to be away from this life to a better place.

Her family are very much in our thoughts at this sad time; Donald now alone in the home, who shouldered the main burden of caring for his mother, helped by his sisters, Peggy, Chrissie, Nan, Lena and Annabel; we remember the grandchildren and great-children, all frequent visitors.

A very well-attended and memorable funeral service, conducted by the Rev Hugh M Stewart, was held at Uigean Church of Scotland, Miavaig, on Monday, December 19.

Laid to rest - We also remember with sympathy the husband and relatives of Mrs Margaret Macleod, Stornoway, who was laid to rest at Ardroil Cemetery in the last week of December, following a funeral service at Sandwick, Stornoway.

The last surviving member of a Stornoway family with strong family connections to Aird where her mother was from, she was a gracious Christian lady, a former lady missionary, wife of the Rev Macaulay Macleod, Stornoway, and a lifelong visitor to relatives and friends here.


In Hospital - The community would like to wish Annie MacAulay, 40 Upper Carloway, a speedy recovery after an accident at her home last week.

40th Wedding Anniversary – Family and friends of Jimmy and Kayella Craigie, 1 Park, Carloway, came together on Friday January 6 to celebrate their Ruby Wedding Anniversary.

Married in Greyfriers Free Church, Inverness on January 5, 1972, by Rev. D Macdonald, the reception afterwards was held in the Craigmonie Hotel.

A sumptuous buffet was prepared by the ladies of the community and a dance held afterwards, kept young and old dancing ‘til the wee small hours. We would like to extend our congratulations to the happy couple.


Swainbost related deaths – On Thursday, December 29, relatives and friends in Ness were saddened with the news that Murdo Murray, Murchadh Torraidh, formerly of 50 Swainbost had passed away in Newfoundland, Canada, where through the years he had been resident and working in his career in teaching, latterly as a University professor.

Murdo, who was aged 89 years, and will be remembered with affection by the older Ness generation, served in the RAF as a radio operator during the Second World War.

From Ness we extend out thoughts in sympathy across the seas to his wife Hilda, their daughter Peigi, sons Iain and Andrew, the grandchildren, and we remember at this time his sisters Annie and Gormelia and all others who mourn at this time.

On Monday, January 2, sad news again came to the Swainbost neighbourhood when it was learned that Bill Blackburn had passed away in Maghull near Liverpool.

Bill who was aged 78 years had not been in robust health for some time. His wife Joan Seonag Uilleam Mhurchaidh Ruaidh is formerly from 12 Swainbost, and Bill will now be affectionately remembered by all who knew him in earlier years during holiday times in Ness.

We extend our sympathy from Ness to his wife Joan, sons Iain and Andrew and all in the close family circle who mourn in this bereavement.

Sympathy – Following the recent passing away of her father Iain Morrison in Back, we condole with his daughter Lorraine, wife of Rev. Greg MacDonald, who is now resident with us in Ness in the Free Church Continuing Manse in North Dell.

Memories – With no street lighting in Lionel village during the end of the year holiday period, we were reminded of earlier years before street lighting when only the moon, the battery torch and the rotating beam from the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse helped to lighten the dark nights of long ago.