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The Uig community in Lewis has planned a series of events to mark the centenary of the Iolaire disaster which claimed 10 local lives – six of them from the village of Cradhlastadh alone.
On Hogmanay, Uig children will light lanterns in the houses which now stand on the crofts to which the 10 men never returned. They will remain lit until sunset on January 2. The war memorial will be illuminated with appropriate maritime colours, allowing it to be viewed from all directions as a ship.
There will be a special Iolaire commemorative service in the Church of Scotland, Langabhat, at 3pm on New Year’s Day at which a pulpit fall, beautifully created by Cathy MacDonald, originally from Enacleit and now of Inverness, will be dedicated.
On Wednesday January 2, descendants of each of the 10 lost men will take part in a ‘naming of names and lighting of candles’ ceremony. This will be the centrepiece of a commemorative event in Uig Community Centre commencing at 2pm.
Six of Uig’s Iolaire victims were from Cradhlastadh along with two from each of Uigean and Breanais. Two Uig men were among the survivors. Malcolm MacRitchie (Calum Dhomhnaill Phadraig) from An Ard died in 1962 and John MacLennan in 1987.
Everyone is welcome to attend these events and to join in Uig’s recognition of the great losses this small community suffered, particularly within the families most directly affected, on that terrible New Year’s morning of 1919.