Local News for Tuesday 18th July 2017

Royal opening for Harris Tweed
The new extension for Harris Tweed Hebrides is to be formally opened by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, on Friday July 28th. The Princess Royal is patron of the UK Fashion and Textiles Association and has been a regular visitor to the Western Isles since her childhood, when she came to the lighthouse at Tiumpanhead with her family, a visit which sparked a lifelong love of lighthouses. She’ll unveil a plaque at the major new extension to the Harris Tweed Hebrides production facility at Shawbost Mill, and will also tour the mill and speak to employees.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 18th July 2017

Local News for Friday 14th July 2017

Man’s body found in Barra
Western Isles Police yesterday made an appeal for information after the body of a 32-year-old man was recovered from the shoreline at Traigh a' Ghoirtein in Barra. The man had been reported missing at 10pm on Wednesday, and his body was recovered by a Coastguard helicopter at 7am yesterday as emergency services were searching for him. Police said there were not believed to be any suspicious circumstances and the man's next of kin have been informed, but that they wanted to establish the man's movements and were keen to speak to anyone who saw him walking from Castlebay towards Vatersay any time from 2pm onwards on Wednesday. He is described as 5ft 10in and, when last see,n he was wearing a green top and brightly coloured trainers. Detective Sergeant Iain Morrison said: "Our thoughts are with the gentleman's family and friends at this difficult time. I would ask anyone with information which could help establish his final movements to make contact with Police on the non-emergency number, 101."

Parliamentary notice for HebCelt
Hebridean Celtic Festival has been recognised for its economic and tourism impact in a motion to the Scottish Parliament, presented by Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant. Mrs Grant has asked the Parliament, currently in recess, to congratulate and commend the organisers and volunteers who run the not-for-profit event. The motion recognises that HebCelt is “firmly rooted in the community and is almost entirely managed and produced by voluntary effort”. It also praises the record-breaking 2016 festival which generated £2.2 million and helped safeguard 40 tourism-related jobs, while highlighting the event has been worth £20 million to the islands’ economy over the last two decades. HebCelt director Caroline Maclennan said: “Planning and running the festival takes a lot of time and hard work by a great many people, so it is very rewarding when that is recognised.”

Read more: Local News for Friday 14th July 2017

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