Local News for Tuesday 27th March 2018

Emergency ferry drill in Tarbert today
The CalMac ferry MV Hebrides will be the centre of a buzz of intense activity in Tarbert harbour today, as CalMac tests emergency planning drills. The drill, codenamed Exercise Tarris, will involve police, coastguard, ambulance and fire services and will focus on an incident involving the ferry, which has been deployed specifically for the drill and will not be carrying any passengers during the exercise. There will be no disruption to the normal timetabled service. CalMac's Director of of Safety, Environment and Security, Louis de Wolff said: “An exercise of this kind allows us to put into practice our emergency plans in as real a life situation as we can possibly get. It allows us to identify any weaknesses we may have and gives us the chance to tighten up how we respond to an emergency, making an already very safe service even safer.” Publicity regarding the exercise is being posted on vessels and in both ports to keep passengers informed of what is happening.

Trust opens for voting at 8am
Stornoway Trust offices open at 8am today for people to vote in person at the Stornoway Trust election. 22 candidates are standing for five of the 10 Trustee positions. It is now too late to post voting slips, which will be counted at the London centre of Electoral Reform Services. Instead, votes can be cast in person between 8am and 8pm today at the Trust’s offices on Perceval Square. All votes should be sealed in the envelope provided in your ballot pack, and taken to the office to be placed in the ballot box.

Comhairle’s thanks for memorial
Driving rain and wind did not deter school pupils from the Nicolson Institute and members of the public from turning out in force on Friday to mark the unveiling or a new memorial to those lost in the wreck of the Iolaire. The yacht Iolaire sank on January 1st 1919 just before coming into Stornoway harbour, taking 201 sailors, most of them coming home to Lewis and Harris on leave, to their deaths. After Friday’s ceremony Comhairle nan Eilean Siar thanked both The Nicolson Institute and Stornoway Amenity Trust for creating the slate engraving and stone cairn at Carn Gardens, Stornoway. The stone cairn includes stones to represent each man lost and were collected from the home village of each of the 201 sailors lost on the Iolaire in 1919. Cllr Alasdair Macleod, Vice-chairman of Policy and Resources Committee, said: "Despite the driving wind and rain, there was an amazing turn out from the community. The pupils are a credit to both themselves and the school and their dedication over recent months, in collecting the stones from across the United Kingdom and in the planning of today's event, should be commended." The event was the first in a series planned this calendar year to commemorate the centenary of the Iolaire disaster.

Island football season
The draw was made at the weekend for preliminary rounds of the Highland Amateur Cup competition. On 21st April Aths will host Back at Goathill, Lochs travel to South Uist to meet Southend, Carloway will have a shorter journey to meet North Uist and Point will welcome Iochdar Saints at Ionad Stoodie. The island football season begins in just 10 days time with the opening matches in the Acres Boys Club (ABC) cup competition ¬– Carloway versus Lochs and Aths v Stornoway United on April 6th, Back v Ness on April 9th and Point v Westside on the 11th. The first league matches will be played on April 13th and the season is scheduled to end on September 1st with the Moldova Lewis cup final.

Junior football
And in junior football, the Lewis and Harris Under 17 Development Squad have a game tonight with an 8pm kick off at Smith Avenue.