Scalpay land transfer celebration

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More than 60 members of the Scalpay and mainland Harris community packed out the Scalpay Community Centre last weekend to celebrate the transfer of Scalpay into community ownership.

Former owner Fred Taylor made a speech on a historic night for the community in which he spoke of his father, John Taylor, and his wish to give Scalpay its independence.

Discussing the benefits of community ownership in other areas and expressing his own wish for the uncertainty over the future ownership of Scalpay to be taken away, Mr Taylor added he hopes that Scalpay will be able to achieve great things with its own land and his future vision for the island is for enterprise, small business and families.

North Harris Trust (NHT) Director Donald John Cunningham, who was a a member of the original Scalpay Land Transfer Steering Group, gave a brief summary of the work of the group and the transfer process.

He praised the work of the Steering group chairman, Paul Finnegan, and group secretary, Finlay John MacRae, who did a lot of work voluntarily behind the scenes.

Thanking Fred Taylor on behalf of the community for his vision which drove the transfer of Scalpay into community ownership, Mr Cunningham insisted that the gratitude of the Scalpay residents cannot be overstated.

Next to the stage was Calum J MacKay, Chair of the North Harris Trust, who presented honorary life membership to Fred Taylor – only the sixth person that this has been awarded to.

Fred was also presented with something to remember Scalpay by with a presentation by Sheila Roderick, NHT Director representing Scalpay. She presented him with a handmade throw of Hebridean Tweed, from Scalpay Linen.

Going forward the Trust have employed a dedicated Scalpay Development Officer to take forward a number of projects to generate income for the community.