Local News for Tuesday 5th September 2017

Coastguard radio changes
HM Coastguard are reminding boat owners, shipping companies and anyone who puts out to sea that they need to make sure they’re ready for the changeover of some VHF channel numbers used to contact UK Coastguard. The changes take place from 10am tomorrow (Wednesday) and will mean that existing channels will no longer be used for either Maritime Safety Information (MSI) or Radio Medical Advice. The new channels to use will be VHF 62, 63 and 64. The use of VHF Channel 10 for MSI and pollution control (back up) is unchanged. Mark Lawson from the Maritime & Coastguard Agency said: ‘We’ve been putting information out about the changes for some months now. This is an absolute changeover so people do need to be ready to start using the channels from 10am on 6th September. Although the MCA will keep the existing channels for about a year, they will not be routinely monitored. Your existing VHF radios should already have the new channels, but owners should check.”

Cruise season draws to a close
The 2017 summer cruise season is drawing to a close, with tomorrow seeing the last call for the cruise ship Corinthian. Just two more larger ships are due in September – the 800 passenger Black Watch on the 13th, and Hanseatic alongside No 3 pier on September 27th. Hebridean Princess is also due to call again. 53 cruise vessels are already booked for next year – indicating a still bigger season to come, with the largest visitor expected the Queen Elizabeth, bringing up to 2,000 passengers on August 21st 2018.

Lottery grows by the week
Western Isles Lifestyle Lottery is continuing to grow, bringing benefits for those who hold a ticket, and the community as a whole. The third draw was held on Saturday, with the three Winners named as Murdo I Maciver from Tong, who won just over £147, Jeanette Boyd from Barra who won £61 and Mrs M from South Uist, who won £37. Of the nine local winners, three are from the Broadbay area, two from Uist, two from Barra and one each from Ness and Harris. The first week’s Hebrides Travel Voucher was won in Perthshire. Just under £700 has now been shared in prize money and organisers have banked more than £2,000 for community improvements from the first three draws. Next Saturday’s prize pot has already increased with more supporters joining every day. Future prize extras are assured, with Lewis Builders Ltd already adding a new cash bolt-on prize and discussions being held with other local businesses. Organisers say that, with this level of continued support, communities will benefit to the tune of over £38,000 per year.

Back asks for your vote
Back Football and Recreation Club has been shortlisted for a national renewable community energy project competition and are in the running for £12,000 towards solar panels for hot water and showers. The competition means they need votes, with voting starting on Monday at 9am. To vote for them on Monday morning follow the link on our Facebook page. https://www.mandsenergyfund.com/projects/back-football-recreation-club

Young shooter hits target
Harris Gun Club’s youngest member, Nicolson Institute S3 pupil Andrew Hughson has won a place on the 2017 Scottish DTL (Down the Line) junior team after competing in the Scottish DTL Championship on Saturday. Andrew also won the Walter Thomson Trophy & Badge as the 2017 Scottish Colts’ (under 16) Champion.