From The Butt to Barra

Jean Mackenzie will be very missed by all who had the privilege to have known her.
Jean Mackenzie will be very missed by all who had the privilege to have known her.

District News for The Stornoway Gazette, edition October 15, 2015.


Tribute: It is with great sadness that we record the death of Jean Mackenzie in the Beecroft Nursing Home in Sydney, Australia, on September 30. Aged 97, she was the widow of Angus Mackenzie of 44 Upper Bayble, known as Bob Dhomhnuill a Phiobair.

Jean was the only daughter of Alexander Macleod and Margaret Macaulay. Her father came from Aird and her mother had Bernera and Skye connections. Jean herself was born in Australia.

Jean and Angus were married in London in 1948 and spent a number of years in Bayble and Stornoway where she worked in the office of Willie John Macdonald’s the butchers. They then emigrated to Australia and settled in Dee Why before moving to Caringbah.

She was a gracious lady and she and Angus always had a warm welcome for visitors from the island, especially the seamen. Jean was predeceased by Angus in 1999, and by her two brothers, Alex and Malcolm.

In 2002 Jean presented a shield to Bayble School in memory of Angus, who was President of the Sydney Gaelic Club in the 1950’s and 60’s and taught Gaelic for 25 years in night school. The Mackenzie shield is presented each year to the senior pupil who made most progress in Gaelic either as a learner or native speaker.


Thursday: The North Lochs Historical Society meeting is tonight the 15th October at 7.30. Apologies for the incorrect date in last week’s column.

Saturday: The Laxay-Achmore moorland walk postponed last week due to the weather, will take place this Saturday the 17th. Cosnabaidh- walking companions to meet at Cameron Terrace at 9am to arrange car sharing.

Bake Club: There is an Island Bake club event on Wednesday 21st in the Community Centre, Leurbost at 7-9pm. The event is free to attend and our theme this month is ‘international bakes’. If everyone brings a home bake sweet or savoury, we eat and chat baking.

Public Meeting: For the Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust will be held on Thursday 29th October 2015, to appoint elected Trustees, to present the Annual Report of the Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust and to present the accounts for the period ending 31st March 2015 and appoint auditors. Meeting will be in Balallan Old School at 7.30pm.

Halloween Parties: All Lochs children (primary and preschool) welcome to the party in the shed at Lochs Showground, Laxay on Saturday 31st October The party between 4 and 6pm is free to attend, but parents are encouraged to bring food donations. Fancy dress is encouraged and all children are to be accompanied by an adult.

Halloween Party North Lochs Community Centre Saturday 31st October

The children’s party will be from 6pm and adults welcome from 8pm. Music with Sandy Maciver, licensed bar and snacks and prizes for best fancy dress (children and adults). Get planning your outfit now.

Bagpacking: A huge thank you to Co-op customers who willingly contributed to our very successful bag packing and raffle on Sat 26th Sept. We raised an incredible£760 to be split between Balallan Hall funds and the Kinloch Historical Society. We would also like to thank all those who came to help to pack the shopping bags.

Team Quest: Well done to all the volunteers at the Lochside Arena for staging the Scottish Final of Team Quest the week of September 28.

Congratulations to the local teams who will be representing the Western Isles. The joint winners in the open competition were the local Neigh Chance team and in the youth section the winners were the Stornoway Legends who will compete at national level.

Committee Meeting: The next meeting of the North Lochs Historical Society is October 21 at the Community Centre, Leurbost. The meeting is open to all and will be confirming the winter activities, speakers, and events. Any contributions for the next Dusgadh, The Historical Society quarterly newsletter, will be warmly received by Margaret MacInnes:


Angus Macleod Memorial Lecture: This year’s prestigious Angus Macleod Memorial Lecture will be given by John Norgrove of Uig at the Old School, Balallan, at 7.30pm on Thursday 22nd October on the subject ‘Afghanistan, and how it changed our family’. Please note the change from the usual venue.

John will use some stunning slides to illustrate his lecture looking beyond his family’s story and focusing on Afghanistan: its geography and environment, its diverse peoples, cultural wealth and rich history.

He will explore what shaped Afghanistan into the country it is today. By taking the audience on a journey through Afghanistan’s long and eventful history John hopes to explain why it is such a difficult country to simplify or make assumptions about.

John will finish by explaining a little about how life on Lewis shaped his daughter Linda, how she was drawn to the ravaged, but still highly cultured Afghanistan, and will recount the experiences of the family throughout Linda’s kidnapping, subsequent death and why they started the Linda Norgrove Foundation.

John will describe some typical projects and talk of the highs and lows of running a small international charity from a remote croft house on the Isle of Lewis.

Admission is free and all are welcome to attend. Refreshments and home baking will be provided.


Bayhead Community Association - The Association will now have its AGM on October 19, a change to the scheduled October 5. It will take place at the bowling club at 7.30pm. The Association has been going for nearly 20 years and has contributed to various schemes, by supporting them financially, and also undertaking many improvements within the ward.

The Association was heavily involved in the play park improvements, the skateboard, crazy-golf, and also the Bridge Centre. It has also been a contributor to the wall to the Castle Grounds.

The Committee are appealing to residents in the ward to come to the AGM to air their views, and hopefully join the committee.

The committee meets eight times per year on a monthly basis, but in the summer it is bi-monthly.

If the committee does not get support from within the ward, the Association will have to disband, and members do not want that to happen.

The Association appeals for residents to participate and make the ward proud of the progress achieved so far. Please, please give your support.

Artist Talk: Gaëtan Robillard: Saturday 17, 7.30pm, £5. A talk on current exhibition ‘Undoing the Tide’ and other work. Includes projection ‘Searching for the Wave’ that was used as part of pianist Ivan Ilic’s last concert at An Lanntair.

Talk will be in the art room and thereafter the gallery.