District News Stornoway Gazette May 3, 2012


Funeral – The funeral of James Finlayson (Seumas Dhomhnuill), who, as noted in this column last week, passed away on Saturday, April 21, at his home at 133 Cross Skigersta Road, was held on Wednesday, April 25.

After wake worship in the Free Presbyterian Church in Lionel on the evening of Monday and Tuesday, the church was full to capacity with the large gathering assembled there on Wednesday, where the funeral service was taken by the Rev Alan MacColl, assisted in prayer by the Rev Dr James Talloch, Stornoway Free Presbyterian Church, and the Rev David Campbell, North Tolsta Free Presbyterian Church. Singing of praise in Gaelic was led by the Rev Kenneth Ferguson, Cross Free Church.

The Rev MacColl officiated with a solemn address at the graveside on Habost machair where a large number of friends were gathered there with the family.

We again condole with his wife Mary and all in the near and extended family circle who mourn at this time.

Sympathy from Ness – On Sunday, April 22, relatives and his many friends in Ness were sad to hear that John Murdo Macleod, affectionately known as ‘Brainidh’, had passed away at his home in Portrona Drive, Stornoway.

John Murdo, who was aged 65 years, had been in failing health for some time. He was a son of the late Murdo Macleod (Murchadh Iain Mairi) formerly of 3 Eoropie, who passed away in 1947 from war related illness, and his mother, the late Katie Ann Morrison, was from Back.

John Murdo was well-known in Ness, and especially in the Eoropie neighbourhood through his frequent visits to the home of his uncles, Angus and William, now at 6 Eoropie. He will be affectionately remembered by all who knew him.

The funeral of John Murdo to Gress cemetery was on Monday, April 23.

From Ness we share our sympathy with all in the close family circle who mourn in this bereavement.

Weather Topics – Our variable weather was evident last week with the beginning of the week bringing to us cold and wintry conditions which the older generation associated with the lambing season, ‘Rotach breth nan uan’.

As we now (at the time of writing) enjoy days of sunshine and blue skies, we wonder what the ‘Rotach dhonn’ which they associated with the sowing of the corn in the fields, will bring us.


Sad deaths - We had a very sad week in April with two funerals on consecutive days, both being held in Uigean Church.

On Monday 16th a large gathering of the local community, relatives and friends from all over the island gathered to pay their last respects to Mrs Joey Smith, who passed away peacefully at her home 20 Valtos at the age of 91, after a long illness during which she was cared for lovingly at home by her daughters, Mary and Joan.

Joey was a much loved and respected resident of Valtos, whose cheerful and friendly personality plus her well-meaning interest in everybody and everything around her endeared her to all who came in contact with her ever since she arrived here from South Bragar as the bride of the late Angus Smith.

We are left with lovely memories of the hospitality and good humour of the home at 20 Valtos, and also of Joey during her years as the dinner lady of Valtos School where she befriended and encouraged pupils and teaching staff alike, not least young “rookie” teachers, thrown in at the deep end and trying to find their feet.

Joey knew great sorrow during her latter years with the loss of both her husband and her son and we now extend the sympathy of the community to daughters Mary and Joan, all the grandchildren, Joey’s sisters and their families.

The funeral service was conducted by the Rev William Macleod, Barvas, senior minister of the Uig Church of Scotland congregation who knew Joey and Angus over the years as faithful adherents, regularly attending church services. Interment was at Valtos Cemetery.

The next day we gathered in the church again, this time with the Matheson family of 8 Eneclete, who are no strangers to bereavement in their family circle, for the funeral of their eldest sister, Peggy Ann Gow aged 64.

Peggy Ann, whose home was latterly in Stornoway passed away unexpectedly in Ospadal nan Eilean on April 6th after successful heart surgery at a mainland hospital and good hope of a return to health. Peggy Ann had her married home in South Africa, where her family of one son and one daughter still live and after many years there, returned to live and work in Lewis, firstly to the family home at Eneclete and then to Stornoway.

Her funeral service was conducted by the Rev Paul Ahmed, minister of Barvas Church of Scotland with interment at Ardroil Cemetery.

The sympathy of the community is extended to her own family in South Africa, to her sisters and brother, Angus, their families and all close relatives.

New Arrivals – Congratulations and best wishes are extended to DI and Ann Macdonald, Gisla and Stornoway, on the birth of their first child, a son.

Also to Angela [nee Smith, Lochcroistean] and Alistair Mackay, now living in Skye, on the birth of their first child, a little girl, a new grandchild for Mrs Christina Smith, Stornoway.


Condolences – The Bernera and Tir Mor community was saddened to hear of the passing of Chirsty Anne Ferguson of 2 Crulivig (Banntrach Seoraas Dan, whom before her marriage was a Maclean from Barvas).

Chirsty Anne had a family of three children, Calum Alick, Betty and Donnie. Recently she had been in poor health and had been staying with her daughter Betty at Lochganvig, where she was lovingly cared for.

Her married life was spent with her husband, Seoras, at Crulivig. She kept an open and hospitable home where all were welcome.

The funeral took place at the Free Church, Callanish, on April 4, with the service conducted by the Rev Callum Macdonald and the Rev William Macleod. The praise was led by Roddy Maciver and Callum Morrison.

Internment took place at Bosta Cemetery.

Condolences are sent from the community to Betty, Donnie, Calum Alick, her brother Donald Allan, the grandchildren, and all of the family.


Duck Race - raised over £300 on the day, with a healthy attendance at the Carloway bridge. The winners were as follows: 1st - Flora MacLeod (Dalmore); 2nd - Tracy MacDonald (Knock Carloway) and 3rd - Iain MacArthur (Borrowston). Carloway Community Association would like to thank everyone who helped at the event.

Carloway Football Club - Unfortunately, as a result of Southend not having a team, Carloway’s Co-operative Cup encounter against the ‘deasachs’ was postponed until further notice. Meanwhile, there will be an important club meeting held at Doune Braes Hotel on the evening of Friday 4th May at Doune Braes Hotel, commencing at 9:15pm. All supporters are encouraged to attend.

Fixtures - Carloway’s next fixture is a big match, as they take on League champions Back at Cnoc a’ Choilich on the evening of Monday 7th May. The match kicks off at 7pm. Come out and support your team!


From Tong Hall – The Primary 6 and 7 class in the school organised a Jubilee Lunch last Saturday in the Community Centre.

By 12 noon the hall was beautifully decked in red, white and blue, there were Union Jacks everywhere, there were Jubilee souvenirs to be bought, the pupils who were taking the food orders had on special Queen’s Jubilee hats, and they were ready to start. Little did they know just how busy they would be!

Within half-an-hour, all 80 seats were occupied and people were queuing up outside waiting to get in. The pupils, parent helpers and staff all worked together to try to ensure that everyone got soup, toad-in-the-hole and dessert.

By 2pm we hope that everyone did get in and obtained a full meal. The pupils, staff and parents would like to thank all who came to support them in raising money for their school trip.

Future events in the hall include a Dancing Competition on May 12; a Curry Takeaway on May 19; a Big Breakfast on May 26, and the Challenger Bus arriving on June 4.


Sgoil Nan Loch - are holding a Garden Party to celebrate eleven years of secondary education on Friday 11 May from 11.00am till 3.30pm. At this event there will be a tea tent, musical performances, displays of photographs, pupils’ achievements and project work. Other educational support organisations will be in attendance with information stalls. There will be Sumo Wrestling,Bouncy Castles and lots of other fun activities.

The children and staff at Sgoil nan Loch invite everyone in the community to come along to join them and help them celebrate pupils’ achievements in the secondary department in the last eleven years.

Table Top sale - Will be on Saturday the 12th of May. The event at North Lochs Centre in Leurbost , will be from 12 noon till 4pm.

Lunch and teas will be served too. Several local groups will be fundraising including The Community Association, Silver Darlings, Lochs First Responders and others. Contributions can be taken to the hall on Saturday morning. This is one of the events that helps to foot the bill to keep the hall open, so come along to get your hands on home baking, jams and hand made crafts.

Lunch - The North Lochs Over 60s members are grateful to the Community Association for the tremendous spread provided at the Easter Lunch.

The beautifully prepared meal included several items hand made by those diligent cooks working behind the scenes. The home made icecream was a treat. After the meal served by the Sgoil nan Loch pupils, the pupils entertained with tunes on the melodeon. Thanks to all those who planned, cooked, served, entertained and provided transport to enable the over 60s to get together.

Lochs Show - A date for your diary The Lochs Agricultural Show will be at the Show ground in Laxay on Saturday 28th July.

This is the early warning, to make a craft item to support the Arts and Crafts sections. Get the vegetables underway or plan to prepare the chutneys and jams for the Produce Section. It is a bit early to plan the grooming and brushing of sheep, hens, cows and horses but, there is no harm in “putting an eye” on the ones you are going to enter in the Livestock section.


Apologies – Apologies for the lack of a Scalpay column last week. My news went missing on transit and as I don’t keep a copy I’m relying on my (bad!) memory for the following.

Baptisms – At the morning service in Tarbert Church of Scotland on Sunday, April 8, the Rev Donald John Morrison administered the sacrament of baptism to Seonag Barker, daughter of Scott and Donella Barker, 9 Parview Terrace.

On the same morning in Scalpay Free Church (Continuing) the Rev Kenneth MacDonald administered the sacrament of baptism to Kirsty Marie Macdonald, daughter of Roddy John and Jayne Macdonald, Fernbrae.

We remember the little ones and the parents in our thoughts and prayers at this time, wishing them every future blessing.

Lambs – As reported in the national press, John Finlay and Sheila, no. 39, are owners of a ewe which has produced two lambs, one black and one white. This is an extremely rare occurrence and people here have never heard of it before.

Magazine Deadline – All articles for the forthcoming last school and community magazine should be submitted to Christine at the school by Friday, May 18. As we are still short on material please send in any snippets you have for this milestone publication.

We are also still looking for photos, memorabilia and artefacts to add to our final school exhibition, so please check lofts and garages and we will arrange collection.

Wedding – A wedding of local interest took place on Friday, April 6, when Marion Rae Macsween, Dunarin, was united in matrimony to Steven Graham, Barvas.

The ceremony took place in Scalpay Church and was conducted by the Rev Dr Malcolm Maclean, Greyfriars Free Church, Inverness, a former minister of the congregation. Precentors were Innes Macsween, Ness, the bride’s cousin, and Angus Graham, Barvas, the groom’s uncle.

Bestman duties were carried out by Murdo Campbell, Stornoway, and bridesmaids were Jenna Morrison, Scalpay, Alison Campbell, Stornoway, both the bride’s cousins, and Fiona Martin, Tarbert. Ushers were the bride’s brother, Donald Angus, Iain Murdo Macleod, Ness, and the groom’s brothers, Scott and Martin.

Piping duties were carried out by Angus Macsween whose family home was at Fernbrae.

Afterwards the bridal party and guests travelled to the Cabarfeidh Hotel, Stornoway, for the wedding reception. Speeches were made by the groom, bestman, and Donald John Macsween, the bride’s father. A sumptuous meal was enjoyed and a memorable day ended with the customary musical entertainment from the Ness Melodeon Band, with songs from Jenna Morrison, Donald Angus Matheson and Ewen John Morrison.

It only remains for us, on behalf of the whole community, to wish Steven and Marion Rae a long and happy married life together as they settle down in Inverness, where Steven is a maths teacher at Millburn Academy.

Services – Last Sunday and next services in Scalpay Free Church were and will be conducted by the Rev Douglas MacKeddie, senior minister of Maryburgh.

Missionary Meeting – Representatives of Worldwide Evangelisation for Christ spoke at Scalpay prayer meeting on Wednesday, April 25. They gave an interesting and informative presentation into the work of the organisation and we remember them and those they represent in our thoughts and prayers as they go forward in response to the divine command to preach the Gospel to all nations.

Zambia Meeting – On Thursday, April 26, Alistair Morrison, Ebenezer, spoke of his trip to Zambia and the work he undertook there.

As we are conscious of the needs of that far-off land we pray for those who carry out humanitarian and spiritual work there.

Condolences – Our deepest sympathies are extended to the widow, family, relatives and friends of the Rev Kenneth Macleod, Thurso Free Church, who passed away recently.

The Rev Macleod assisted at the Scalpay Communions two years ago, and many of us have fond memories of his challenging sermons and warm Christian fellowship. May all who mourn this great loss to the cause of Christ be thankful for every memory of another who has heard these words, “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

We also extend our condolences to Mary Ann Macleod, 17 Bayhead, on the passing of her brother-in-law, Alec, in Stornoway. At this sad time we extend our prayerful sympathy to her, husband Calum, their family, and all other relatives and friends. May God uphold and comfort them as He alone can.

Thanks for Service – Kenneth John Morrison, Hirta House, and Donald Morrison, Hillside, have both stood down from the Coastguard Service as search and rescue officers.

We thank them for their many years serving the Harris community in this capacity and their willingness always to respond to any emergencies that arose.

New Officer – David Morrison, Blue Cottage, has now joined the Coastguard Service and we wish him well in this field of maritime emergency work.

Gaelic Service

The next Gaelic service in the Dingwall Community Centre on Tulloch Street will be on Sunday, May 6. On this occasion the Rev Norman Maciver (Rtd) will conduct the worship. Mr Maciver, whose last charge was in Tarbert Church of Scotland on the Isle of Harris, now resides in Inverness.

The service, to which all are welcome, begins at the usual time of 3pm.