Community Event - 24th June
Somewhere to stay – HebCelt plea
A plea has been made to help accommodate visitors to the 22nd HebCelt, set once again to double the population of Stornoway for a few days in July. Last year’s record-breaking festival increased the population of Stornoway to nearly 18,000 over the four days, and VisitScotland office has made an appeal to residents to accommodate festival-goers arriving from across Europe, Canada, the US and Australia. Alan Mackenzie, VisitScotland Islands Manager, said: “HebCelt’s huge appeal as an international event continues to attract people from all over the world to the islands. The influx of people is great for the town and islands in general, but it does put pressure on the accommodation sector as already there are few beds available during festival week. We would be grateful if any regular accommodation providers that still have vacancies could contact our team at the Stornoway VisitScotland iCentre (01851 703088). Any extra help with good quality accommodation and hospitality in the Stornoway area for the festival week would also be greatly appreciated.
Iolaire remembrance events discussed
The commemoration of 100 years since the Great War will culminate at the end of next year with events to mark the centenary of the Iolaire disaster, and preparations for anniversary are already well underway. The passenger yacht Iolaire was wrecked on the Beasts of Holm in the early hours of January 1st 1919, while bringing returning servicemen home to Lewis and Harris after the end of the war. The Scottish Commemorations Panel has indicated that the remembrance of the HMY Iolaire disaster will be the culmination of the official programme of commemorative events, with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar asked to host a civic remembrance event on 31 December 2018 into 1 January 2019. There is a proposal for a new sculpture, a project being led by An Lanntair. There could also be a second sculpture in Stornoway town centre and some communities wish to place a smaller version of the final sculpture in each community which suffered losses. Today’s policy and resources committee is to look at these proposals, and at other works including reinstatement of the path to the existing memorial.
‘Be nice or go home’ message to airport visitors
Barra Airport Café has found itself at the centre of a social media storm, after posting about ‘the worst coach party ever’ and their behaviour in the café. The unbooked party reportedly complained about the food and coffee, jostled waiting passengers and bumped other diners in a scramble to see the iconic beach plane landing. Airport café management said their young staff had been treated with rudeness by a group who were thoroughly miserable. The post unleashed a storm of comments, most supporting the way the café had stood up for their staff, but was taken down yesterday after national newspaper reports covered the story. Other café visitors who had witnessed the incident agreed that the group had behaved badly, and supported the café’s final statement to visitors: “Remember you are on holiday on a beautiful island – be nice or go home!”
Laura’s ‘slow but steady’ recovery
Barra schoolgirl Laura Macintyre is making ‘small but steady’ steps towards recovery at Manchester Children’s Hospital, where she has been since being seriously injured in a bomb blast at Manchester Arena on May 22nd. Laura’s parents Michael and Nan have publicly thanked everyone for their continued support. They said: “Every day sees some improvement in her condition. She is now managing to eat and drink which has enabled the removal of the feeding tube. She is being cared for exceptionally well by nursing and medical staff at Manchester’s Children’s Hospital. Laura has a long road ahead and we are extremely grateful for all the support”.