New competition in memory of Donald John MacKay

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Trustees of Urras Dhòmhnaill Iain – The Donald John MacKay Educational Trust – have launched an annual competition in memory of Mr MacKay, former depute chairman of trustees and project development manager at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig.

The competition, which will run for 10 years, marks the outstanding contribution made by Mr MacKay to Gaelic and industrial development in  the Highlands and Islands.

The competition is open to any full or part-time student in Scotland at further or higher education level or working towards a doctorate.

Mr MacKay had a long association with the work of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Lèirsinn Research Centre, An Comunn Gàidhealach, of which he was the first director (1965-70), Comunn na Gàidhlig, British Alcan, the Harris Tweed Association, Highlands and Islands Development Board, the Gaelic Society of Inverness and a range of other organisations.

The competition will be administered by Fèisean nan Gàidheal (FnG) on behalf of the trust and all entries should contribute to the aims and objectives of the current National Gaelic Language Plan and align to the aims and objects of the trust.

Entries must be from individuals and will be judged by a panel including a representative of the MacKay family, one trustee, one representative of FnG and up to two other independent assessors to be invited by FnG and the trust.

Speaking on behalf of the trustees, Duncan MacQuarrie said the main aims of the competition are to promote all aspects of Gaelic culture; to promote education in and through the Gaelic language; to promote the study, appreciation and use of the Gaelic language; to encourage young people to continue the seminal work of revival which Mr MacKay inspired; to enable young people throughout the Highlands and Islands to develop entrepreneurial skills; to build community confidence through strategic planning and to boost social inclusion and lifelong learning. Donald John was a key figure in many Gaelic-related developments in the 20th and 21st centuries.

‘This competition will enable young people to demonstrate innovative ideas, fresh thinking and develop personal interests,’ he added.

Arthur Cormack, chief executive of Fèisean nan Gàidheal, commented: ‘We are honoured to collaborate with the Donald John MacKay Educational Trust and will work to deliver an annual competition for Gaelic students throughout the UK worthy of the memory of a key figure in the development of Gaelic and the Highlands and Islands. The competition is now open with applications required by Friday, November 16.’

Further details of the competition are available on the Fèisean nan Gàidheal Website at