Local News for Wednesday 27th June 2018

New standard water safety app agreed
A new tracking and alerting system has been adopted to improve safety at sea by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA). The two major water safety bodies today join forces to reveal RYA SafeTrx as HM Coastguard’s new official voluntary safety identification scheme. The app is designed to improve safety at sea, monitoring boat journeys and alerting emergency contacts if you fail to arrive on time. The system uses iPhone and Android to help improve safety for everyone who enjoys being on the water – from kitesurfers and kayakers to dinghy sailors and powerboat users. It tracks progress and alerts emergency services if there’s a problem, making a 999 call to the Coastguard at the touch of a button. The app can be used free of charge in UK territorial waters and has already been adopted by maritime search and rescue agencies in countries including Ireland, Spain, South Africa and Australia. Coastguard director Richard Parkes said: “When we receive an emergency call we need a huge amount of information fast. This app helps us access all your details, so that you can get a swifter response with the right resources.” RYA SafeTrx is free to download from app stores.

Term end farewells
The end of the school term tomorrow marks farewell from Nicolson maths teacher David Cleary, who has been at the school for the past two years. David is moving to Thailand to take up a new teaching post in Bangkok, after a brief trip home to his native Tipperary in Ireland. He marked his final weekend playing shinty with a goal for Lewis Camanachd in their hard-working performance against Lochaber. He’s been involved with youth development at the club, too. Lewis Camanachd team member Donald Lamont said “For a man who has only played two half-seasons, David has had a big impact, he’s a great character and will be missed especially for his work with the youth. As a sign of his undoubted impact on the youth he was presented with a hurling helmet in Irish colours and a Tipperary sliotar by the young players he has coached.”

Jewellery winner from college
This year’s winner of the Natural Retreats jewellery competition was Claire Redman, a student on the Lews Castle College UHI Jewellery course. It’s the second year that Natural Retreats have sponsored the award, which was presented by Colin Maciver from Natural Retreats. Lews Castle College UHI continues to develop its range of creative industries courses and summer schools, with the summer sessions running throughout July and including art, jewellery, Gaelic, Harris Tweed and theatre. Assistant principal Ann Murray said: “Lews Castle College UHI is committed to helping to develop the local creative and craft industries, working with agencies like An Lanntair and the Harris Tweed industry. We are also working with local artists such as Kenneth Burns to build on the success of our art and music courses in Uist. The huge interest in the jewellery courses we have run over the last two years comes both from islanders and people visiting the islands.”

Carnival ball tickets on sale
Carnival Ball Tickets are going on sale this Saturday, 30th June at 10am. They are £50 per ticket and this includes welcome drinks, a three-course meal and music from Our Small Capital, along with the chance to win auction and raffle prizes. A limited number of dance only tickets will also be available. Carnival organisers are using an online booking system this year for the first time. It’s also time to submit your nominations for Carnival King and Queen – two people that deserve a bit of recognition for the things they do. You can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your suggestions or visit the Lewis Carnival Facebook page. Carnival Day this year is on Saturday August 4th.