District News: Butt to Barra 06.03.14

Gazette reader Ali Finlayson captured this image of swans at Port of Ness
Gazette reader Ali Finlayson captured this image of swans at Port of Ness


Death in Fivepenny - On Monday 24th February, neighbours and his friends in Ness were sad with the news that, after a lingering illness borne with fortitude in the past few years, Granville Edwards

Stewart Mitton had passed away at his home at 25 Fivepenny, where, along with his wife Marion, they have been resident for the past 22 years. Granville, who was 79, was formerly from Accrington in England, will be missed with affection and respect by all who knew him in Ness through the years.

The funeral of Granville to Habost, Ness cemetery was on Friday 28th February. The service in Ness Church of Scotland was taken by Rev. Iain Murdo Macdonald, assisted in prayer by Alex Dan Murray, elder, North Dell, with singing of praise led by John Hebditch, elder, Cross Skigersta Road.

At the graveside Rev. Macdonald officiated with words suited to the solemnity of the occasion.

In their bereavement we share our thoughts in sympathy with his wife Marion, daughters Helen and Judith, son Colin and all others in the close family circle who mourn at this time.

Fir Chlios - On the late evening of Thursday 27th March, the people of Ness, along with many others, had the opportunity of seeing in clear skies, the spectacular display of ‘Fir Chlios’, the Northern Lights, reminding us of elements of nature which are always around us, of which we know so little until they are revealed to us from time to time.

Church Services - Communion week services will be held in all Ness congregations this week beginning on the morning of Thursday 6th March.


Bird life - On Thursday 6th March, Robin Reid RSPB Officer in Lewis and Harris will be holding an information evening at the North Lochs Community Centre. The event, beginning at 7.30pm, is a part of Comann Eachdraidh Ceann a Tuath nan Loch’s programme of talks.

Car wash - Pairc School are holding a car wash, with trailers also welcome, at Ravenspoint Centre in Kershader on March 9th between 11 and 5pm.

While you wait for your car to be washed, there will be a light lunch with tea, coffee and cakes available.

The children there will entertained with tattoos and a lucky dip.


Communions - Communions are being held over this coming weekend in Scalpay Free Church.

Ministers assisting are Rev. Kenneth Ferguson, senior minister of Cross, and Rev. David Macpherson, Aberdeen.

The late Annabel Cunningham - On the morning of Tuesday, 11th February, the community was saddened to hear that Annabel Cunningham, Dal na Mara, had passed away peacefully at home at the age of 77.

Annabel, whose family home was in Shader, Barvas, moved to Scalpay in 1969 with her late husband Angus Alex from Helensburgh, where he was employed as a civil engineer.

They moved home to enable Angus Alex to manage the Cunningham shipping family business, which he did for many years thereafter.

Annabel was a nurse, relieving in Scalpay and North Harris and for 10 years serving the South Harris community, based in Leverburgh.

On a personal note Angus Alex and Annabel lived in Ullapool after their marriage at the same time as my late parents and I have many happy memories of kindness received there and in their family home here, where a warm welcome was always extended to all.

Above all, Annabel knew the Lord as her own personal saviour. She was a communicant member in the church for many years and her practical Christian support and prayerful interest in the spread of the Gospel will be greatly missed.

As we mourn the passing of another who has heard these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” our prayer if that others would be raised up to take the place of those being taken into the Lord’s eternal service from our communities.

Her funeral service on Thursday 13th saw a huge crowd gather from all over Harris and Lewis to pay their last respects to one held in high regard. It was conducted by Rev. Andrew Coghill, assisted by Rev. Malcolm Macdonald, Callanish.

The praise was led by Rev. Calum Iain Macleod, Back, whose family home is at Camus Beag and the internment thereafter was to Luskentyre cemetery.

At this difficult time we remember in our thoughts and prayers daughters Christine, Doleen and Morag Anne, son Martin, all their families, sister Mary Ann, brothers Ken and Angus and all other relatives and friends.

May they be conscious in these days that ‘The eternal God is their refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms’.


Award -Katie Denehy (pictured), Community Education Worker at Castlebay Community School has been shortlisted for the National Youth Worker of the Year Awards 2014.

The Awards, run by YouthLink Scotland, recognise and celebrate outstanding achievement with young people by managers, practitioners, peer educators, teams and individuals who work within Scotland’s youth work sector.

Castlebay Community School is an all-through school for three to 18 year olds on the island. As a Community School, supportive partners and parents run events like football and games on Saturdays, the Youth Council, Youth Club and Youth Café. Katie Denehy is integral to delivering these opportunities for local young people out of school hours.

Mairi MacLean, one of the young people that Katie works with, says her work has made a real difference on the island: “As a young person and a member of Barra Youth Council, I have directly benefitted from Katie’s involvement. Her work has hugely affected the lives of many young people. She has made us believe we have a say in what happens in our community and that we can change and improve things.

“Her involvement and encouragement meant we submitted a public petition to Holyrood, which resulted in free Wi-Fi now being available on our local ferry and a better Orange phone signal, this now means we can have mobile phones, a big part of teenage life!”

As part of her work with local youngsters, she organises the Youth Council which recently has had huge success in delivering improved mobile phone signal on the island. She has encouraged the pupils to hold movie nights in the school which are very popular in a community with no fixed local cinema.

Katie has supported pupils through their Youth Achievement and Volunteer Awards and is also involved in local conservation work, taking groups of young people on camping weekends to the uninhabited island of Mingulay to ‘beat the bracken’.

Three finalists have been shortlisted in each of the 11 categories. The winners will be announced on March 13th.


Isle of Arran - Sallie Porteous thanks the valiant ‘Isle of Arran’, her skipper, and the very buoyant crew.

When recently in pretty difficult weather conditions, she ploughed manfully through the waves to take a boatload of us back to Stornoway when the ‘Isle of Lewis’ broke down (again!). Such a seaworthy wee vessel, it was gratifying to see the sea rushing black past the open door and be warm and cosy, rolling through the waves safely home. We would have been marooned in Ullapool until Monday if not for them. The crew knew how to lay hands on a rope, not having machines for everything, and were very cheery with the passengers.

It reminded us that we are a nation of sailors, that we don’t need a floating shopping arcade to cross the Minch, just a reliable boat, a canny skipper and a skilful crew.


First Eat Safe Awards - The Eat Safe Award is granted by the Environmental Health Service of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in conjunction with the Food Standards Agency.

The main aim of the scheme is to provide an incentive to food businesses to strive for food hygiene and food safety management standards beyond those required by law.

It also helps consumers make informed choices about where to eat out by providing a recognisable ‘sign’ of excellence in standards of food hygiene.

Councillor Kenneth M Murray - Chair of Environment and Protective Services - was delighted to hand over the first award from the Comhairle to Nicky and Colin Cameron of Cameron’s Chip Shop in Stornoway.

Councillor Murray said: “The Eat Safe award is only presented to businesses that have achieved hygiene standards beyond those required by law so their commitment has to be commended. “I would encourage all businesses within the Outer Hebrides to aim for this award as it provides them with a valuable tool to reassure their customers of a continuing commitment to produce food safely.”

Eligible establishments are assessed for the award as part of scheduled food hygiene inspections undertaken by officers from Environmental Health. Further details via: www.food.gov.uk/scotland/safetyhygienescot/eatsafescot