YOUNG IOLAIRE DESCENDANTS UNVEIL MEMORIAL
The granite wreath commissioned by Point War Memorial Committee in memory of the Iolaire and funded by community wind farm Point and Sandwick Trust was unveiled at a dedication ceremony in Garrabost Memorial Gardens on Saturday morning.
More than 50 people of all ages braved the cold winds to take part in the half-hour service, led by the Rev Donald Macdonald and with official duties performed by Francis Jefferson, chair of the Memorial Committee. The service included the singing of the 23rd Psalm.
Six youngsters – all with family connections to the tragedy – joined together to unveil the memorial and another youngster, 14-year-old piper Aaron Ingram, also performed a key role in the service, playing Pipe Major Donald Macleod’s famous piobaireachd Lament for The Iolaire.
The cost of the memorial – £2,200 – was met in full by Point and Sandwick Trust, which owns and operates the turbines at Beinn Ghrideag for the benefit of the community.
Point and Sandwick Trust chairman Norman Mackenzie said: “It was a lovely service. From Point and Sandwick Trust’s point of view, we are pleased to have been in the position to fully fund the request from the committee and the fitting permanent memorial.”
Read more: Local News for Wednesday 6th March 2019
ISLES MP URGES SAFETY AT SEA FUNDS BE AVAILABLE POST BREXIT
Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus B MacNeil has called on the UK Government to ensure that key funding remains available to fishermen to improve safety at sea after Brexit.
Currently grants of up to 80 per cent are available for fishermen from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to finance personal protection equipment which includes work clothing as well as Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs). The Fund also supports modifications to vessels to reduce the risks of going overboard, such as adding safety rails and non-slip decking.
Mr MacNeil has written to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to seek clarification on how funding for safety measures will be accessed by fishermen after the UK leaves the European Union.
Mr MacNeil said:
“Safety at sea should be a priority and I have written to the Secretary of State to seek clarification on the UK Government’s plans to ensure that fishermen are supported in making modifications to vessels and in purchasing PFDs and PLBs.
“The recent Notice from the MCA has made additional legal requirements on fishermen to wear PFDs at sea in an effort to save lives and the long term plan needs to be to prevent fishermen going overboard in the first place by improving safety features on fishing boats. This funding is crucial for the safety of the Scottish fleet and I hope the UK Government has made provision for this to continue."
Read more: Local News for Tuesday 5th March 2019
WESTERN ISLES LIBRARIES TO CELEBRATE BRITISH SCIENCE WEEK
For everyone with an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, Stornoway Library will be celebrating British Science Week for the first time this year.
Stornoway Library is holding various events in their new makerspace room - The Space - in March. Show & Tech outreach events are also taking place in community hubs on Lewis in Pairc Trust and Carloway Community association before moving to Harris and further South to the Uists and Barra in April.
On offer are films, talks, activities and workshops and everyone is invited to join.
The week will start at Stornoway Library with a special film screening on Saturday 9th March which will feature two great sci-fi classic movies suitable for the whole family.
Also, the Stornoway Astronomical Society will be on hand with Donnie MacKay’s talk on Planets, Moons, Comets and Things! On the other hand, you could learn more about Rockets, Jets and Spaceplanes with Dr Chris MacLeod from UHI’s Innovation Centre and have some fun with 3D-printed gliders.
If you want your little ones to experience coding and fun learning with apps appropriate to their ages, come in to the Apps & Coding for Early Years events with access to Code-a-Pillars and tablets. You can also experience their PS4 Virtual Reality set.
The library’s Digital Champion, Helene Lagrange, said: ‘We are really grateful to the British Science Association for supporting British Science Week in the Western Isles.’
Read more: Local News for Monday 4th March 2019
STORNOWAY PRIMARY FACILITIES PROGRESS UPDATE
Members of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Education, Sport and Children’s Services Committee recently heard a progress update on the improvement of physical facilities at Stornoway Primary School.
Chairman of the Committee, Cllr Angus McCormack, said: ‘Under the leadership of both the current and previous headteacher and in collaboration with the facilities group and parent council, a number of recommendations have been addressed in the last twelve months.
There has been a systematic review of materials being held in storage and a significant amount of materials and furniture have been removed. In addition, several storage spaces have been re-designated or better organised to allow for more efficient use.
This has removed the use of corridors for storage. The school has increased the use of the HT Office for management duties and for meetings with parents, partners and others. The change in the degree of use of the HT office has freed up the room known as the upstairs office to be used as a dedicated staff CPD base to allow them to prepare for lessons and complete other professional duties.
I am very pleased to see the progress being made and we will continue to work closely with the school and the parent council over the next few months.’
Current projections for the school roll in 2019-20 indicate that there will be a reduction of approximately 4% since the joint report was produced, resulting in the number of full-time classes reducing from twenty to nineteen.
Read more: Local News for Friday 1st March 2019