Local News for Thursday 17th May 2018

A song for Eilidh
A new single by the popular band Skipinnish will be released on Saturday as a tribute to Barra teenager Eilidh MacLeod, who died one year ago in the Manchester Arena bombing. The Scottish trad band will donate all the proceeds from the re-written song Wishing Well, to help build a permanent memorial to Eilidh on the island. Songwriter Angus MacPhail has met Eilidh’s parents and the family, getting their approval for the idea before changing the lyrics of the song. Malcolm Jones from Runrig produced and plays on the track. The new recording will go on sale at midnight on Saturday May 19th, with all proceeds from the release going to the Team Eilidh fundraising group, which hopes to raise £5,000 to fund a permanent memorial to the 14-year-old and to ensure her love of music lives on through the Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band. Members of Skipinnish are also running the Edinburgh half-marathon on May 27th to raise money for the campaign, and will join Team Eilidh to run the Manchester 10K the week before. Angus MacPhail said: “Memory is one of the most powerful means of dealing with tragedy and a memorial will hopefully help the family and the island heal together. If the song Wishing Well will also help this bright, talented piper and Highland dancer be remembered, then I’ll be very glad.”

First shout for new Lifeboat
The new Leverburgh RNLI lifeboat had its first shout early on Monday morning, when the volunteer crew were paged to help a woman with a back injury on board a yacht, north of Lochmaddy, North Uist. The 12-metre vessel, with two passengers on board, was taken under tow to the safety of Lochmaddy Harbour. The casualty was then transferred ashore on a stretcher, helped by Griminish Coastguard volunteers. Once ashore, the woman was transferred to the local GP practice by the Coastguard. Lochmaddy Hotel provided a base for the rescue crews while they were in the area. This was the first shout for Leverburgh’s new £2.2m Shannon Class Lifeboat, RNLB Stella and Humfrey Berkeley, which went on service on 2nd May. The formal naming ceremony for the new vessel is in July.

International visitors for HebCelt
Official visitors from Hong Kong and Australia will be at this year’s Hebridean Celtic Festival, to get ideas from the award-winning festival which could be used on the other side of the world. Representatives from Sha Lo Wan, a village of 50 people in Hong Kong reached on foot via a ferry, are planning a new festival to help regenerate the area. They hope to get ideas from HebCelt. Also on the visitors’ list is an Australian academic keen to learn how to make festivals in small rural communities in Victoria and South Australia more inclusive and sustainable. The delegations aim to draw on the experience of HebCelt, which is being held for the 23rd time this year in Stornoway and other parts of Lewis and Harris. HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “We will be honoured to host the visitors from Sha Lo Wan and Australia and hope we can provide them with some inspiration and practical help. Starting or running a festival is a daunting prospect, particularly in a remote or rural setting. But with ambition, determination and the help of volunteers and community it can be a richly rewarding way of stimulating the economy whilst promoting local culture.”