Torchlight procession through Stornoway will signal the start of the civic commemorations to remember the Iolaire on New Year’s Eve

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As part of the commemorative events to mark the centenary of the loss of HMY Iolaire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is hosting a civic ceremony on December 31st.

Weather permitting, there will be a torchlight procession led by Lewis Pipe Band from the Stornoway Town Hall to Ionad Spòrs Leòdhais – leaving at 8.30pm.

There will be 201 torches to represent the men who were tragically lost.

The sold out “A Community Remembers” event will start at 9.30pm at Ionad Spòrs Leòdhais and will be broadcast live on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal and will also be streamed live on the internet at Iolaire Online.

The programme will include prayer, psalms, music – new and traditional and a 15 piece Royal Marine Band, plus readings in English and Gaelic.

The MCs for the evening will be Angus MacDonald (BBC) and Agnes Rennie (Acair).

There is a relay into The Nicolson Institute which is also sold out.

Those who have secured tickets for these events are reminded to bring the email confirmation along with them to collect the tickets between Monday 3rd and Friday 14th December (9-5pm) from the Comhairle buildings, Sandwick Road, Stornoway. Unless an alternative arrangement has been agreed, any uncollected tickets by 5pm on Friday 14th December will be allocated to those on the extensive waiting list.

During the town centre torchlight procession several roads in the town will be closed to ensure pedestrian safety and there will be restrictions on parking within the town centre and the public are requested to make use of the parking across from the Comhairle buildings at Sandwick Rd and The Nicolson Institute Car Park off Smith Avenue. Stewards will be on hand to provide advice and guidance on parking.

On January 1st the Scottish Commemoration Panel is holding a Memorial Service at the Iolaire Memorial, Holm at 12pm.

The service will be broadcast live on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal for those not in attendance.

Transportation by shuttle buses to the site will be arranged from The Nicolson Institute bus park.

The Holm road will be closed off and there will be no other vehicular access to the site.

The Coastguard Rescue Service will be monitoring all coastal paths. The restrictions will be lifted one hour after the service finishes to allow general access to the memorial site.

At noon, there will also be a service on board the MV Loch Seaforth (please contact CalMac’s Stornoway Office for details on reserving tickets) led by Rev James MacIver, Stornoway Free Church, following which 201 children from across the islands will throw flowers into the sea.

Due to the safety restrictions at Holm, there will be a number of tickets reserved for the service on board the MV Loch Seaforth for those with accessibility requirements.