Local News for Monday 28th November 2016

Hall of fame award for choir master
The man who founded three Gaelic choirs in Lewis is to be honoured with induction into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame. Rod Mackenzie, who prefers to be called Ruaraidh, came to Lewis with his wife Alison in 1972 to teach at the Nicolson Institute, and came to live in Gress. During 30 years in Lewis he started Coisir Òg a Bhac, Coisir Loch a Tuath and later Coisir Sgire a Bhac. Ruaraidh described his time in Lewis as the best years of his life. He said: “To see these folk from our local community develop into such a musically satisfying and socially cohesive ‘family’ was so personally fulfilling and satisfying.” One of those he inspired, piper and singer Anna Murray, said: “His selfless dedication and encouragement to our community and singers is an inspiration and something for which we will be forever grateful.” Three of his four daughters are Gaelic singers, and he also has 13 grandchildren.

Drunk driver for court
A 46-year-old man is to appear in court on December 1st after he was stopped on Sunday afternoon in Newmarket and found to be driving while drunk. The man was stopped at 5.30pm and, after being charged, was released on an undertaking to appear in court.

Winter drivers still taking risks
Over 100 drivers were stopped by Police on Saturday evening in Laxdale and Sandwick, with checks carried out on lights, tyres and other aspects of winter safety. Numerous drivers were issued with safety advice, and three are to be reported for vehicle defects – two for tyres in an unsafe condition and one for driving with an obcured windscreen. A police spokesman said: “People are not being sufficiently careful with simple safety checks, such as making sure your lights are working, tyres are roadworthy and, particularly, that you can see through your windscreen before you start driving.” The local road safety campaign will continue throughout the winter at locations around the islands.
Ferry disruption
There’s some disruption to ferries in South Uist again this week as the MV Lord of the Isles is taking longer than expected during her annual refit. An amended timetable on the Mallaig Lochboisdale route will now continue until 5th December, meaning all sailings will operate between Oban and Lochboisdale, not Mallaig.
CalMac say you should contact local offices if you have any queries.
Befriending Lewis ‘energised’ by Lottery
The vounteer project Beriending Lewis has said they will be ‘energised’ by an award from the Big Lottery announced last week. The charity were awarded nearly £150,000 through the Improving Lives Fund, and will use the funds to sustain their volunteer befriending service, across the Isle of Lewis, for the next three years. In a statement the team said: “The Befriending Lewis team are a mix of dedicated individuals, volunteers, staff, friends and supporters who each put their heart and soul into ensuring that the service runs effectively, and the award of this Big Lottery funding will energise and inspire all our volunteers and supporters.”
Over 75s could get TV free
People who reach their landmark 75th birthday in the next year are being reminded that they’ll be entitled to claim a free TV Licence. Anyone aged 75 or over can claim a free TV Licence for their main address and over 2,300 people in the Outer Hebrides already have an Over 75 licence. Fergus Reid, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said:  “If you’re approaching 75 or have already enjoyed your 75th birthday then it’s quick and easy to apply for your free TV Licence by calling 0300 790 6073, where we will help you through the application. The free licence is not granted automatically so anybody who becomes eligible needs to make sure they apply. If you live with someone aged over 75, their free licence will cover all viewing in the property, meaning you could also benefit, whatever your age.”