Local News for Monday 19th June 2017

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”.

 

OBE for oil rig salvage chief

The man who coordinated a massive salvage and rescue operation in Lewis last summer, Hugh Shaw, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. The Secretary of State's Representative for Maritime Salvage and Intervention (SOSREP) was a constant presence from the day after the oil rig Transocean Winner went aground at Dalmore beach last August, until the day she was lifted clear of the water in Broadbay and carried away on a heavy load carrier, nine weeks later. He’s been given the award ‘for exemplary services to the environment and maritime salvage’ having worked for the MCA for over 35 years, some of which were as a Coastguard Watch Officer at Stornoway.  Hugh’s role carries an enormous weight of responsibility, where one wrong decision could have catastrophic repercussions.  His skill and expertise has ensured that there has been no significant pollution from shipping or from offshore installations since 2008. The MCA said at the weekend that the successful salvage operation of the Transocean Winner that demonstrated his unfailing ability to remain calm and logical in a crisis and to bring parties together to prevent pollution and protect the public. Hugh was also unfailingly courteous and available to local media, appearing on Isles FM a number of times during the operation to explain what was to happen and answer questions. Speaking of his award, Hugh said:  “To receive this OBE is an incredible honour and I’m humbled to be recognised for the maritime and salvage work. There have been challenging times, but this work has given me great satisfaction, especially when I know we have made a difference to the environment for future generations.”

 

Resilience at heart of air traffic concerns

The resilience of communications is the key issue for air traffic, as proposals are developed for possible remote operation of Air Traffic Control systems at some Highlands and Islands Airports. This was the key message from Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil, after he last week attended a briefing meeting with HIAL and others on the issue. The briefing follows reports individual air traffic control teams could be replaced by a centrally controlled system. Mr MacNeil said: “We all value the work of the highly skilled air traffic control staff and obviously the retention of these jobs in the islands is important. But there are concerns about the practicality of not having on the spot aircraft information and guidance due to lack of robust communications, a point I am glad to say HIAL readily conceded. London City Airport will have a remote control tower in Hampshire, more than 100 miles away, but it will have three differently routed cables for resilience.  Communication resiliency seems to be a huge barrier to doing anything remotely in the Highlands and Islands.”

 

Flag raised today for Armed Forces

The Armed Forces Day flag will be raised in Perceval Square at 10am this morning, at the start of a week of events honouring serving members of the armed forces and veterans. On Friday from 12 noon there’s a Big Brew at the Drill Hall to raise forces for SSAFA, while on Saturday the Co-op on Macaulay Road is offering breakfast for veterans between 9 and 10am. The week concludes with a parade and salute on Monday evening next week, Western Isles Lord Lieutenant Donald Martin taking the salute, and the flag to be lowered soon afterwards. 

Under 18’s cup win for Point

Under 18s football at the weekend produced a massive scoreline for Point U18s, who won the Ladywell Cup, sponsored by Galson Motors, by defeating Western Thistle 10-nil at Goathill. Five goals were scored by Matthew Wright, Angus Macdonald and Domhnall Alec Morrison had two each and Martin Macdonald sealed the total. The Lighting and Electrical Man of The Match award went to Matthew Wright, while Point captain Angus Macdonald was presented with the Ladywell Cup.