Local News for Thursday 13th July 2017

Three album deal for Lewis singer
Lewis singer-songwriter Colin Macleod is today signing a three album recording contract with the international music giant BMG, who also have Blondie, Nickelback and the Charlatans among the artists on their books. Now Colin, from Swordale in Point, is set to see his own career soar from the island life he treasures. Tomorrow sees the release of a new single and EP, Old Fire, which takes inspiration from island landscapes. Colin, who records as C Macleod, said: “The Old Fire EP and the album are all songs from home, taking stories I’d heard over the years from the island and turning them into new songs, from a modern perspective.” Despite the big deal, Colin’s not going to abandon his roots, his band includes fellow islanders Murdo Mackenzie on drums, Scott Macleod on guitar and Colin’s brother Callum on bass. And he’s also home next week in and around the Hebridean Celtic Festival, where he’ll be playing alongside other Lewis music-makers.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 13th July 2017

Local News for Wednesday 12th July 2017

Friends reunited via Facebook and Uist
Two young boys have been reunited via social media, after their families were separated in a house move. Eight-year-old Aiden West and his friend Jack both lived in Army housing in Inverness, but when Jack’s family moved away they didn’t get time to say goodbye. Knowing only that Jack’s mum came from Uist, Aiden’s mum Louise put out a desperate appeal via Scottish social media pages. She said: “We are both army families and military life is hard on kids. He has been in floods of tears as he thinks he is never going to see his friend again.” Within hours the post had been shared to Uist and other Western Isles pages, with the result that Jack’s mum Catriona Harding got in touch. Now the boys are writing and plan to meet up. Lousie said: “I woke up to a message from Jack’s mum - another woman from a Uist page sent me a message to say it's her husband’s cousins. I can't believe how quickly we found him, I was so happy to tell Aiden the fantastic news that we found Jack and the boys will stay in touch. We are over the moon. Everyone who has helped me, I thank you all so much.”

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 12th July 2017

Local News for Tuesday 11th July 2017

Islands minister on tour
With the Scottish Parliament in recess, MSPs are on tour, and Islands Minister Humza Yousaf is the latest to visit Lewis on a round of site visits and meetings. He will chair a meeting of the Islands Strategic Group today today with Minister for Local Government and Housing Kevin Stewart, who has also opened phase three of the new social housing development in Sandwick. The meeting at Breasclete Community Centre will include discussions on the Islands (Scotland) Bill, which was introduced to Parliament last month, along with the development of a National Islands Plan. Mr Yousaf will also visit BASF Pharma and the Callanish Stones, Hebridean Seaweed, Harris Tweed Hebrides and the Galson Estate over the two days. Mr Yousaf said: “Scotland’s islands are fantastic places to live and work and this is a great opportunity to support our work on the first ever Islands Bill, which will meet the unique needs of Scotland’s islands now and in the future I will also be meeting with the new Islands Strategic Group, which includes all six Council areas in Scotland with responsibility for island communities, to ensure the voices of all Scotland’s island communities are being heard.”

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 11th July 2017

Local News for Monday 10th July 2017

Injured Barra schoolgirl on long road home
Barra teenager Laura MacIntyre has been transferred from hospital in Manchester to Glasgow, beginning the slow process of getting back to her home, and taking another step on the road to recovery. Laura has ‘significant’ hand and leg injuries, and will now continue to receive care in Glasgow. Laura's parents Michael and Nan MacIntyre issued a statement on Friday, especially thanking Manchester hospital staff and others for their care since Laura was injured in the arena bombing in May. They said: “The kindness and care started from the first moments after the bombing when a young travel-safe officer held Laura’s hand and comforted her for an hour while she waited for treatment. We believe he helped save Laura’s life that night and he will always be a hero to our family. We’d also like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff of the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for their care. We couldn’t wish for a more dedicated, kind and professional group of people.”
Staff at Glasgow and Barra airport, Loganair, CalMac and Police Scotland also received thanks, as did Marine Harvest, Micheal’s employers, who had been patient and helpful throughout. The Macintyres said: ”All these people and organisations have made a big difference during a very traumatic time and we will always be grateful. Laura is now one step closer to eventually returning home to Barra, from where we have received enormous love and support."

Read more: Local News for Monday 10th July 2017

Local News for Friday 7th July 2017

‘Where are the crofters?’ – MSP
Scottish Labour’s rural economy spokesperson Rhoda Grant, who is also MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has criticised a new National Council of Rural Advisors, unveiled by the Scottish Government, because there is no Highland or Island, or crofting representation on the Council. Mrs Grant has written to the Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing, to express her concerns. She said: "I am deeply worried that this means the concerns of those working on our most challenging land in the Highlands and Islands will be overlooked, once again. Too often have we seen support skewed away from the area that most need it, and this Council does not include the expert knowledge to change that.”

Read more: Local News for Friday 7th July 2017