Local News for Friday 26th May 2017

Tributes for Barra girls
Tributes and support have continued to flow in to the families of Barra schoolgirl Eilidh Macleod, who died in Monday night’s terrorist attack in Manchester, and her friend Laura Macintyre, who remains critically injured. Among those offering condolences and support were Police Scotland, the Diocese of Argyll and the Isles, and the convenor and leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. The family of 15-year-old Laura said today that, despite her injuries, Laura was a strong-willed girl who would continue to battle. The family statement said that their "hearts and minds" had been with Eilidh's family since they heard the news. They said "Our daughter Laura is a funny and witty young girl who excels in everything she does. We want to thank everybody for their support including the emergency services for all that they have done and all they continue to do.”

Among the tributes to Eilidh Macleod, there were eloquent words from the organisers of the annual Barrathon – which takes place this year on July 1st. They said  “Barra is incredibly proud of our young people. So many kind, caring and talented individuals with so much to offer in life. Eilidh MacLeod had all of these qualities and more. She played in the local pipe band leading the Barrathon runners to the start line, as well as at many other events. As a community we are devastated by her tragic death and we will miss her greatly. The Barra community pulls together at the very best of times, and at the very worst. The one thing we can be certain of right now is that these two families will be in the hearts of Barra people, both at home and away.”
Fundraising to help the families of both girls with the mounting costs arising from the tragedy continues. Two JustGiving pages set up separately to raise funds have so far received donations totally over £65,000. As a tribute to Eilidh, who was a keen piper with the Sgoil Lionacleit pipe band, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers are offering a Celtic football strip, personalised with their name, as an auction prize. Bids, which started at £200, are being taken via the band’s Facebook page. A band spokesman said: “We are truly heartbroken; a fellow piper and musician has been taken from us in such a cruel way when attending a music concert in Manchester.”
In other news
Navy patrol boat in Stornoway
The Royal Navy patrol boat HMS Tracker has been in Stornoway today, as part of a round-Scotland tour taking three weeks. Commissioned in 2008, she’s part of a fully-armed patrol squadron based at Faslane. The round-Scotland tour includes co-training with the RNLI and school visits.

Lewis Mod next week
The annual Lewis Provincial Mod  starts in Stornoway on Tuesday next week, with the Literary prize-giving ceremony in the Caladh Inn.  Wednesday sees the drama, oral and traditional singing competitions taking place.  On Thursday solo singing competitors will take to the stage followed by Folk Groups in the afternoon.  The Mod will draw to a close on Friday with instrumental, choral competitions and cèilidh groups during the day, concluding with the Prize-winners Concert in the Nicolson Institute on Friday evening at 7pm.
The South Uist Mod, scheduled to begin today, has been cancelled in the light of the recent tragedy.
Projects complete
Four community developments in South Uist and Barra have been successfully delivered, thanks to funds sourced by the Comhairle from the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and the Comhairle’s own Community Capital Grant Fund.  In Eriskay,  the Co-Chomunn have upgraded the local community shop, Vatersay Community Association have completely refurbished their Community Centre  and, in Castlebay, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has built two business units and is now advertising for potential tenants.
The Jock Stein Cup Final is being played tonight at Goathill, between Westside and Point, Kick off at 7pm. It’s the third year in a row the two teams have met in the final, Point the winners three times in a row. But while Westside are missing players through injury, suspension & holidays, and have been knocked out of other cup encounters by the reds, they’ve beaten Point in recent league encounters, with Point winning just one league match out of five so far played.