Local News for Thursday 2nd November 2017

Gaelic champions announced as finalists
Finalists have been announced in the annual Scottish Gaelic awards, and they include familiar names in island cultural circles. An Lanntair’s head of performing arts, Alex Macdonald, is shortlisted for the arts and culture award, sponsored by Creative Scotland, and Comunn Eachdraidh Nis is a finalist in the event award category. Stornoway-based e-sgoil has been shortlisted in the innovation in education award category, which supports creative ideas to deliver Gaelic education. Winners will be announced on November 15th at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 2nd November 2017

Local News for Wednesday 1st November 2017

More quitters this year
There have been more successful attempts to give up smoking in the Western Isles than ever before this year, with the highest percentage increase of successful quit attempts. In the latest year’s figures, the number of people who stayed off the smokes at 12 weeks stood at 55%, significantly higher than the overall Scottish figure. There was also a significant performance improvement of 136% in the Western Isles. Colin Gilmour, Head of Health Improvement at NHS Western Isles, said: “Each quitter has their own reason and our service aims to provide them with a high quality, sensitive and tailored package of support.” Evidence shows that you are four times more likely to quit using specialist support and Smokefree Hebrides can be contacted on (01851) 701623

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 1st November 2017

Local News for Tuesday 31st October 2017

Fruit salad on the beach
Islanders are being urged to look out for fruit on the beaches of the Western Isles, after a cargo spill of bananas and pineapples last week in the Atlantic. Over the night of the 19th and 20th October the MV LOMBOK STRAIT lost two containers of bananas and pineapples overboard due to stormy seas. A spokesman for the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) told Isles FM that the two container loads of fresh fruit were expected to come ashore in about three weeks, anywhere on the west coasts of the islands, or as far north as Shetland. The spokesman said: “The containers were lost at approximately 48N,28W in mid-Atlantic. Assuming that the containers broke up on entering the water, and after checking that bananas and pineapples float, the potential trajectory shows possible landfalls along the Western Isles and Shetlands. Out of interest and to help refine our future models, the date and location of any reports of landfall by the fruit will help oceanographic research.” Any photos will, in addition, be entertaining for social media!

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 31st October 2017

Local News for Monday 30th October 2017

Fallen walker lifted to safety
Dramatic rescue footage was released by UK Coastguard at the weekend of the rescue on Saturday of an injured rock climber from underneath Neist Point Lighthouse on the Isle of Skye. The Stornoway search and rescue helicopter filmed the rescue of the woman, a rock climber in her early 20s, who fell and injured her leg. Portree, Dunvegan and Kyle Coastguard Rescue Teams, Leverburgh All Weather Lifeboat and the Stornoway Coastguard helicopter were all sent to the scene and the young climber was winched into the helicopter and taken to Stornoway Airport where she was met by the Scottish Ambulance Service for onward transfer to the Western Isles Hospital.

Roddy is community hero
Stornoway paramedic Roddy Macdonald has been named Flybe’s first Community Hero, after a public vote handed him the accolade. Votes for Roddy named his work as a member of Scottish Ambulance teams, his training and mentoring for First Responders in various parts of the islands, and his role as deputy station officer for Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team, who said: “Everyone at Stornoway Coastguard Rescue Team are both delighted and proud that Roddy has been unveiled as Flybe's Stornoway Community Hero. This comes as no surprise to any of our team members due to his dedication and support to the Rescue Team and his tireless work throughout the community.” Roddy himself said he was ‘gobsmacked’ at the announcement.

Public apology after vote mistake
A public apology has been issued from Back Football and Recreation Club after bad feeling arose during a recent open vote for funding. The M&S community energy fund had two island contenders – Back FRC and Taigh Dhonnchaidh in Ness. Project leader at Back James Macarthur said at the weekend: “I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to all other project entries and especially Taigh Dhonnchaidh from Ness. In an earlier note where I highlighted that the voting process may be flawed and was open to irregular voting patterns and abuse, some project leaders took this as a direct accusation against their individual projects. It was never my intention to create or generate offence especially to Taigh Dhonnchaidh with regards to this statement. Whilst I have caused this unpleasant experience, I am able to see where I went wrong and again can only apologise.”

Flybe and Eastern Airways merge
Yesterday saw Eastern Airways’ scheduled flights begin operating under the Flybe brand at the start of a new five-year franchise partnership. All of Eastern Airways’ routes – including services from Stornoway – will now operate with Flybe’s BE flight codes. Eastern Airways celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and has been operating flights from Stornoway Airport to Aberdeen since 2006. The service has come under renewed criticism this week because of timetabling issues which affect workers travelling offshore from Stornoway via Aberdeen.

Read more: Local News for Monday 30th October 2017

Local News for Friday 27th October 2017

Local support grows for Isles FM votes
Support is growing for Isles FM, as the volunteer radio station contends for community funds from Aviva to ‘up the game’ over the next few years. Voting has opened for a cash award from Aviva’s Community Fund, with three weeks to get our plan for a new station manager enough support to go through to the fund’s finals. Every voter has ten votes to allocate as they wish by November 21st, and there’s a link to vote on the Isles FM Facebook page. News of the appeal is being shared in social media, with news websites and listeners also putting their support behind the appeal. One listener said: “Before we moved here one of the highlights of our holiday was being able to tune in to Isles FM in the car as we drove around. Still love it now that we're residents. Votes have been cast.” Also lending his support is charity walker Alex Ellis Roswell, who is coming towards the end of his mammoth walk around the British Isles in aid of the RNLI. He said: “Fantastic! I don't know of a more worthy community radio station for this- you gave me and the RNLI so much support when I was in the Outer Hebrides!”

Read more: Local News for Friday 27th October 2017