Local News for Monday 14th May 2018

Death of popular radio presenter
Tributes have been paid to Isles FM’s much-loved veteran presenter Lionel Sewell, who passed away early this morning. For many years Lionel presented popular shows including Southern Comfort, Country Roads, the Tuesday afternoon show with the late Peggy MacNeil and Saturday Night's Moonlight Shadow, with his beloved partner Chrissie. Listeners commenting after the news broke earlier today described him as a charming man, an asset to the community and a big part of the Isles FM family. We send our deepest condolences to Chrissie and to all Lionel's family, and hope listeners will keep them in their prayers at this sad time.

Read more: Local News for Monday 14th May 2018

Local News for Thursday 10th May 2018

Mosque opening tomorrow
Stornoway’s new Mosque will open on James Street at 2pm tomorrow, with a large crowd of supporters and keen media interest expected. The opening, which continues with refreshments until 5.30pm, is open to all after a visiting teacher leads the first Friday prayers from 1pm. Some of the workmen involved in the lightning conversion of the former disused store, restored to use in just four weeks, are expected to be travelling from Leeds and other parts of the mainland to help celebrate. Work continued right up to the wire, with specially-woven carpets still being laid today. A crowdfunding appeal launched to raise £50,000 for the costs of the conversion will close tomorrow, with the total raised now approaching £95,000. Surplus money will be given to the islands’ Muslim community to help towards running costs and maintenance of the new building.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 10th May 2018

Local News for Wednesday 9th May 2018

Laxdale School in national Remembrance final
The pupils of Laxdale School have had their design for a World War One commemoration shortlisted in a national competition. Poppy Scotland named the project, put forward by Gaelic Medium teachers Mrs Barden and Mr Maciver, as one of six finalists in the Poppy Places and Spaces competition, which encourages young people to learn more about the First World War. Primary 3-7 pupils have designed a seated area around an existing bench, with wall murals, plants grown in their own poly-tunnel, and Gaelic poetry written by themselves, encouraging people to sit and reflect on the sacrifices of the war, as well as the tragedy of the Iolaire. The school’s janitor has agreed to make wooden poppies and paint them brightly before fixing them to the refurbished bench. Poppy Scotland’s Isla Campbell Lupton said: “It’s a really simple, effective idea and it would work really well within the budget.” The competition winners will be decided by public vote – you can support Laxdale School with your vote by following the link on our Facebook page. http://learning.poppyscotland.org.uk/competition/

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 9th May 2018

Local News for Monday 7th May 2018

Work to start on island roads
Temporary disruption on island roads is expected from today, as the annual surface dressing programme begins in North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist. Work there is expected to continue for about two weeks before operations move to Harris for one week, then Lewis for three to four weeks. All works are weather-dependant, and drivers are advised to expect delays and to take note of warning signs and traffic management. The Comhairle apologizes in advance for any inconvenience caused.

Read more: Local News for Monday 7th May 2018

Local News for Friday 4th May 2018

Leverburgh lifeboat enters service
The new Shannon-class RNLI lifeboat has entered service at Leverburgh, after all the volunteer crew passed their training. RNLB Stella and Humfrey Berkeley 13-25 entered service at 5pm on Wednesday, less than two weeks after arriving in Leverburgh to a welcome from a huge crowd of local supporters. The new £2.2m Lifeboat was specially constructed in Poole, and will have her official naming ceremony on July 14th. She’s the first modern all-weather lifeboat to be propelled by waterjets instead of traditional propellers, making her the most agile and manoeuvrable all-weather lifeboat yet, a feature which will be particularly beneficial when working in the challenging waters of the Sound of Harris. Furthermore, the Shannon is almost 50% faster than Leverburgh’s previous Mersey Class Lifeboat, RNLB The Royal Thames, with a top speed of 25 knots – a crucial factor when lives are at risk. Leverburgh RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager, Chris Ross said: “We would like to pay particular thanks to all the RNLI trainers and assessors who have visited us over recent months, for their time and the wealth of knowledge they have brought with them. We would also like to thank our local coastguard helicopter teams for assisting us with our most recent training. It is a truly memorable occasion to have our new Shannon class Lifeboat go on service. The Mersey Class Lifeboat has served us well since the station’s establishment in 2012, but the arrival of the Shannon in Leverburgh brings a whole host of new, much more advanced, life-saving capability to our coasts.”

Read more: Local News for Friday 4th May 2018