Local News for Friday 4th August 2017

Big weekend in Stornoway
There’s another big celebratory weekend coming up in Stornoway town centre, as the annual Harbour Day and Lewis Carnival run side by side for the first time. The two events will create another weekend of festival atmosphere, with a European Market and the Carnival funfair already drawing people into the town. For the first time this year the day starts with a Carnival mile, sponsored by Natural Retreats and leaving the Castle Green at 11am. There’s fun indoors and out around the town, with stalls and sideshows in the Town Hall, Perceval Square, on the quayside and on the street. The Carnival Parade leaves Willowglen at 1pm. Perceval Square closes for parking from 6pm tonight and organisers ask that no-one leaves cars either here, or on Comwell Street, which will also close for the parade. South Beach car park will be open for parking as usual. Volunteers are being asked to head into town early tomorrow to help get a big marquee up in Perceval Square. Your help is needed from 9am and helpers will be rewarded with burgers from the Round Table barbecue.

Island musicians take HebCelt to France
Meanwhile island musicians and HebCelt organisers are on their way to Lorient in Brittany, France, for Europe’s biggest Celtic cultural festival. After another record year on home turf, HebCelt has seen all the tickets for their opening concert at the Lorient InterCeltic festival snapped up, meaning over 1,000 international music lovers will tonight see performers including Gaelic singers Anna Murray, Mischa Macpherson, Ceitlin Smith and Josie Duncan from the isle of Lewis. HebCelt also has its own pavilion at Lorient, set up with assistance from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Outer Hebrides Tourism and An Lanntair. HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: "We are thrilled the opening show at Lorient is a sell-out. It is such a wonderful opportunity to promote the music and culture of the festival and the islands to a huge international audience.. It's been a major challenge organising two events simultaneously, but it has also been very rewarding. And we could see the benefits of cultural tourism from this for years to come."

Mobile signal black-out continues
Customers of the mobile phone operators EE and Orange are still without service in Uig, Lewis and the Isle of Barra. Both areas have been without a signal since the end of June, and although EE engineers are on site in Uig, there is as yet no resolution to the problem. In Barra the company say that they have issues at two different sites but do not guarantee a fast fix to these problems. Barra customers who use Three mobile customers are also affected as Three use the EE/Orange masts. Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil said “Despite recent press releases and engineers being on site customers are still without a service and this is not good enough. People in these areas rely heavily on mobile phones and the loss of service has a big effect on all aspects of life. Lack of a mobile signal could result in delays in getting help and add to already stressful situations. I am continuing to push all mobile operators to upgrade to 4G and to co-operate to ensure improvements to communications within the Western Isles.”

Lodge Fortrose anniversary gifts
Stornoway’s Lodge Fortrose is spreading out the goodwill from their recent 250th anniversary celebrations, during which they raised over £1600 from raffles. The money is to be presented tomorrow at the Lodge, with Alzheimer's Western Isles, Stramash Community Services, Macmillan Nurses Western Isles, Lewis Retirement Centre, Stornoway RNLI, Bethesda, Western Isles Kidney Patients Association, Cardiac Risk in the Young and Action for Children all getting cheque donations. There will also be a donation to the funds for the Macleod and Macintyre families in Barra.