Gazette Letter 7.11.13

This stunning photo of Bosta Beach, Great Bernera, was taken by Neale Harding from Bridgwater
This stunning photo of Bosta Beach, Great Bernera, was taken by Neale Harding from Bridgwater

People may not bother to donate

NHS Western Isles’ decision to wrestle control of donations to specific wards, from grateful patients and relatives, and centralise them into an Endowment Fund seems heavy handed (Stornoway Gazette, Oct 31)

Instead of patients showing their gratitude to ward staff who cared from them,by way of monetary donations or gift vouchers, the decision on who benefits and how the money will be spent will now lie with unnamed Endowment Trustees.

Whilst NHS Western Isles justify their decision “in the light of national guidance” NHS Highland is reported to continue to allow specific donations for staff at ward level.

NHS Western Isles attempts to provide a more equitable staff fund for all staff may backfire, as some patients and their families may just not bother to donate. After all, the staff whom they want to benefit may actually not see any of their donation.

We all get a morale boost when we receive a gift of gratitude - and nurses are no different. So, the decision to deny the donor of their staff gift at ward level and deny nursing staff such appreciation/acknowledgement seems grossly unfair. Nurses deserve more than chocolates and biscuits on occasion!

Marianne Maclennan

8 Abercorn Road


Breathtaking hyporcrisy

It is with breathtaking hypocrisy that Garry Otton and the Scottish Secular Society (Letters, 31 October) play a numbers game over people affiliating with the Free Church of Scotland in the 2011 Census.

Taking aside that the number of people attending Free Church services has increased over the past five years, perhaps Mr Otton could explain why the Scottish Government should listen to the handful of members belonging to the Scottish Secular Society who wish to eradicate Christianity from Scottish schools and impose their own anti-religious beliefs on all of our pupils?

The secularists are of course welcome to leave the traditional Scottish Christian education system and set up their own atheist schools – instead of trying cuckoo-like to take over the ones started by Christians.

Gordon Bell

Communications Officer

The Free Church of Scotland

The Mound



Marie Curie Group

I am writing to call on your readers to help Marie Curie Cancer Care to set up a new volunteer Fundraising Group for the Lewis and Harris area. Following our first meeting last month we now have a small core of eager and willing but ideally need a few more to make it an ongoing success. Are you looking to make a difference in your local community and help us to raise funds and awareness for your Marie Curie nurses?

We are also looking for support with our winter collection in Tesco. If you are able to spare a couple of hours on Friday 15th November please do get in touch with John Masterson direct on 01859 530463.

Fundraising Groups make an enormous difference locally by helping to raise the vital funds we need so that Marie Curie Nurses can continue to provide free care to people with terminal cancer and other illnesses in their own homes. If you are interested in helping Marie Curie Cancer Care to set up a new volunteer Fundraising Group or support the charity in any other way please contact Vonnie Carson on 01463 238328 or email .

Vonnie Carson

Marie Curie Community Fundraiser for North West Scotland

Losing himself

‘Na bi ga do chall fhein ann an taighean duine eile,’ my Dad used to tell me when I was young. ‘Don’t lose yourself in other people’s houses.’

It was a remark which he made to try and make sure I acted in a normal, reasonable manner when I was ‘out’ in public or in other people’s property. It was a command which, as my teachers and others will probably testify, I rarely (if ever!) obeyed, but even to this day, it remains in the back of my mind. It provides a warning that others will judge my family and indeed my entire community by the way I behave ‘outside’ it.

It is a warning, however, that a man who is also the product of a good Hebridean family, the MP for the Western Isles continually chooses to forget. The debate on Syria, for instance, was marred by the Speaker comparing Mr MacNeil’s behaviour on that occasion to an ‘exploding volcano’, instead of approaching a subject as difficult as war and the suffering of the people of Syria with dignity and restraint.

We see this unfortunate behaviour again when Parliament is discussing – of all things! – air links to the South East of England. Again, as anyone can see from reading Hansard, there is his unnecessary impersonation of Mt Etna.

This time Mr MacNeil contrives to achieve the impossible, spouting lava in the direction of the Leader of the Western Isles Council, Angus Campbell in the midst of that debate. One can only wonder what relevance this has to the subject. How it must have puzzled and bemused all the MPs who were present at this debate. Has the Western Isles shifted to somewhere in the vicinity of Hastings and Dover?

Whatever the merits (or otherwise) of his case, why is this man washing the dirty linen of his constituency in full public view? What on earth is he on about?

It is long past time that members of the Western Isles SNP – and particularly individuals like Councillors Manford and Mackenzie, both good and decent men – started to realise that the name and reputation of the community they serve is far more important than their narrow tribal loyalty to a cause.

After all, even they must recognise that, no matter what the basis of the disagreement, when Mr MacNeil launches himself into a personal attack on a fellow islander, he has ‘lost himself’ in a particular House in London on one occasion too often.

Donald S Murray