New area fundraiser

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Adrienne Dempster joins Blythswood Care as the charity’s new area fundraising manager for the north of Scotland. Having trained as a teacher and then worked in pharmaceutical sales, Adrienne brings skills and experience in making presentations to people of different ages and capacities.

“My first perception of Blythswood was as the organisation that runs the Shoe Box Appeal,” says Adrienne.

“My children were involved in this at school and our church supports the appeal too. But Blythswood does so much more all year round through social care programmes at home and abroad and I look forward to working with fundraisers and support groups throughout the north to promote the organisation’s work.”

Adrienne is based at Blythswood Care’s head office in Evanton and can be contacted at:


Traditional Burns Supper - Time is running out for you to obtain tickets for the Traditional Burns Supper on Friday 23rd January at 7 p.m., in Berneray Hall, with all monies raised going to the RNLI.

A three-course meal (menu below) and cash bar will be provided by ‘Stepping Stone’ Restaurant, Bailivanich, and there will be music, poetry and songs from a variety of talented local entertainers.

The programme for the evening - with MC Roddy Shaw - will include the Selkirk Grace, Address to the Haggis, Address to the Lassies and Suitable Response, together with a selection of the poems and songs of Robert Burns. There will also be a Grand Raffle.

Menu: Cock-a-Leekie Soup with Herb Scone (a vegetable soup also available); Haggis, Neeps & Tatties (Vegetarian Haggis available) or Poached Salmon & Parsley Butter; Raspberry Cranachan with Shortbread or Cheese & Biscuits

Subject to demand, we are also looking to provide some public transport to Berneray Hall and back.

Tickets - Adults £25; Children £15 – and further information are available from Barbara Jameson (01876 500849) and Stella Evans (01876 500306). Tickets can also be purchased from Ardmaree Stores / Lobster Pot, Berneray or from Taigh Chearsabhagh, Lochmaddy.


Weather - Hurricane force winds hit upon our shores on Thursday night and into the wee small hours of Friday, with a tremendous buffeting on buildings and where gusts of 113 mph were recorded.

However, here on Benbecula and in particular in Balivanich, we appeared to get off lightly compared to our neighbours in other parts of the Uists, with the power only being cut off for a few hours during the night.

We understand that those residing on St Kilda - that world renowned island steeped in history and mystique and situated way out in the Atlantic Ocean - encountered winds of 188mph with inevitable damage caused there.

On Saturday we were forced to put up with severe gale force squalls with a short interlude of thunder and lightning to regale us in the afternoon.

It was also a case of ‘Flight of the Wheely Bins’ as some broke free from their moorings and in the concern of the correspondent, were transferred INSIDE his house in the interests of safety and due to the scattered contents of a full blue bin being relocated God knows where!

One tenant at Winfield Close moaned in colourful language of his garden being filled with foreign bodies but there is one plus point amidst all of this chaos.

The birds seemed to enjoy proceedings and were seen to peck away enthusiastically at bread crumbs kindly put out for them by thoughful lovers of the species!

Scottish Slimmers - The group are contactable on 0800362636, they are holding weekly sessions via the local branch at Balivanich Hall on Monday evenings.

One woman featured upon their advertising notice in a local supermarket is reported as having been delighted to lose 22lb in weight during the first six weeks of her course.

Not a bad venue for some to visit following the excesses of the Christmas and New Year period perhaps?

Yoga Classes - Sheila MacDonald continues to stage evening Yoga classes at the Hall, the dates for which for the rest of January are on the 21st and 28th of the month.

You may get in touch with Sheila on 07914184627 or

And Sheena Stewart has launched Blether Together (BT), a new and important service now offered by Caradean Uibhist/Uist Befriending.

On Sheila’s notice she pleads, ‘People living alone, housebound or elderly sometimes feel a bit forgotten. Can you give someone a call once a week just so they know someone cares.’

Her number is 01870603233 or


Choir AGM - Còisir Ghàidhlig Chàrlabha​igh will hold their annual general meeting on Monday 19th January at 8pm in Carloway Community Centre.

Choir Open Night - Còisir Ghàidhlig Chàrlabhaigh is looking for new members. The choir is hosting an open night for potential new members on Monday 26 January in Carloway Community Centre at 8pm.

This will be a very informal evening that will allow people to hear about how things work at practices and we will start to look at some of the songs the choir will be learning in 2015.


Community Centre - The next event will be the Senior Citizens Christmas Dinner on Saturday 17th January at 2pm. Anyone in the Community who is able to help with this event will be made most welcome.

There is preparation to be done on Friday night and help is required on Saturday in the kitchen and for waitressing, and of course to help clean the hall afterwards. If you can help please come along, or contact Maureen or Karina.

Weather - Like the rest of the Isles Bernera was badly affected by the recent gales especially the storm force winds on the night of 8th January. A lot of damage was done to property in the area and most households were affected by this. The community polytunnel was also damaged. We have had a lot of regular power cuts in the area over the last few weeks and it has been good to see so many people in the area helping out their neighbours.

A big thank you goes to all those workers who have tried so hard to keep our services going and also the local fire brigade who have dealt with callouts.


Services - Stornoway Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland are holding evangelistic services this weekend in Coulregrein Mission House, Perceval Road.

Services are as follows; Friday and Saturday at 7.30p.m. Sunday 11.00a.m. and 6.30p.m. The services will be conducted by the local minister, Rev David Karoon. All are welcome to attend.

Stornoway World Religions Day - This is a celebration of diversity of Faiths in Isle of Lewis, inviting members of a wide range of religious communities.

Whether you are a Baha’i, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Muslim or any others, everyone can take part.

The aim of World Religion Day is to promote inter-faith understanding and harmony.

Through a variety of events held around the globe, followers of every religion are encouraged to acknowledge the similarities that different faiths have.

The theme is “Beliefs into Action.” Looking at practical day to day examples of how beliefs are put into action, within the context of belief systems and how everyone strive to achieve peace in our world through different ways.

World Religions Day was created by the Baha’i faith in 1950, the aim is to unite everyone, whatever the faith, by showing that there are common foundations to all religions and that together we can help humanity create a better world and live in harmony.

“Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.” Baha’u’llah. World Religions Day Celebration in Stornoway, 2015 ,7-9pm, An Lanntair, Friday, January 16th.

ETS roadshow - The Western Isles will host the first-ever roadshow for Edinburgh Theological Seminary (ETS) next week.

On Wednesday 21 January a special event will take place in the MA Macleod Hall in Stornoway beginning at 7.30pm, where addresses will be given by ETS Principal and Stornoway Free Church minister Rev Iver Martin and ETS lecturer Rev Daniel Sladek. There will also be a question and answer session with current students.

It is hoped the evening will allow the people of Lewis to hear more about the work and vision of ETS and for island congregations to develop a closer relationship with the Seminary.

Numbers have continued to soar over the past two years at ETS with a record number of new students.

This includes Innes MacSween and Paul Murray from the Cross congregation in Ness, Iain Morrison from Back Free Church and David MacDonald from Stornoway, who are all training for the Free Church ministry.

While ETS has historically been the Free Church College, it very much seeks to serve the whole church in our country.

Every year there are students from a very wide range of congregations and backgrounds, both from Scotland and from abroad, and the Seminary is keen to further develop its ties with the wider church.


Open Day - Following their recent highly successful Winter Cafe, Lewis Independent Christian School are holding their annual Open Day on Thursday, 22 January from 9 am - 12.30 pm.

This will provide a great opportunity to see how the school operates, witness the great education on offer and gain a greater understanding of what the school is about. Everyone is welcome and will be offered a guided tour.

The School is to be found at 80 Newmarket.

Anyone wanting more information can call the School on 700134 or check out the website at