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.”

Helicopter switchover
Stornoway's Coastguard search and rescue (SAR) helicopter base has become the 10th and final base to enter the nationwide helicopter network operated by Bristow Helicopters on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). For the past four years the Stornoway base has been part of a ‘gap’ contract, awarded to Bristow in 2012. As part of the transition Stornoway is now host to two specially configured Sikorsky S-92A aircraft. Chief pilot, Captain Ben Clarke, said: “This is a landmark year for Stornoway – celebrating our 30th anniversary, and now formally joining our colleagues as part of the UK’s strategic search and rescue response team. My teams’ focus is always on bringing people home safely. Stornoway may be seen as a remote setting in the eyes of many people – but we are absolutely vital for that reason. The provision of helicopter support to people living and working in and around the islands is all the more important due to the location. We are proud to support our North West Coast and Hebridean communities, responding to a wide range of incidents from mountain to western Atlantic and assisting tourist, locals and professional mariners alike”. The Stornoway base has a team of 30, including pilots, engineers, winch operators, winchman paramedics and support staff based at Stornoway airport.

Leanne Fund’s magnificent seven
A hardy team of five ladies completed an epic adventure last week, climbing seven Munros in less than 24 hours in aid of the Leanne Fund. The team set off at 4.30am on Friday and finished 19 hours later at the summit of their 7th Munro. Chrisetta Mitchell, Jimina MacLeod, Chrisell MacLeod, Mina Nicolson and Donna Barden said it was worth every step as they have now raised more than £2,000 for the charity which supports young people affected by Cystic Fibrosis and their families. Chrisetta said: “It was the toughest physical challenge I’ve ever undertaken, really quite scary in parts, when you were scrambling along a ridge at 3000 ft with sheer drops either side! We were actually on 17 summits in total throughout the day with majority of Munro height - over 3000 ft. “ Although training walks led by Robert Sinclair were helpful in preparing them, the team said nothing could ultimately prepare them for the 19 hours of endurance. Jimina Macleod said: “What a journey it has been from our first tentative clamber up Ben Bragar. The sense of achievement reaching the summits of all these peaks was immense. Although I'm so relieved it's finished and I never have to climb a mountain again!” You can still support the epic feat by following the link on our Facebook page to Jimina Macleod’s JustGiving page.

North Harris Show
The North Harris Agricultural Show is tomorrow at Willow Park in Urgha, with a huge range of entertainments, stalls and events. The show opens at 12.30pm. It’s the only show in Harris this year, as the South Harris Show takes a year off while the Leverburgh Memorial School undergoes renovation works.

In Monday’s Eilean an Fhraoich semi-final matches Carloway beat Point 2-1 and Ness won 1-nil over Back, leaving all the teams with leeway as they await the second leg matches. There’s league action tonight with Ness v Carloway at Fivepenny, kicking off at 7pm, with further league matches on Friday. On Saturday there’s a treat for young players and enthusiasts as the Ross County Under 17s travel to the islands to meet Lewis and Harris youngsters at Goathill, kick-off 6pm.