Young Iolaire descendants unveil memorial

Six youngsters – all with family connections to the Iolaire tragedy – joined together to unveil the sculpture. Photograph: Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos. NO F10 Young Iolaire descendants

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The granite wreath commissioned by Point War Memorial Committee in memory of the Iolaire and funded by community wind farm Point and Sandwick Trust was unveiled at a dedication ceremony in Garrabost Memorial Gardens on Saturday.

More than 50 people braved the cold wind to take part in the half-hour service, led by the Rev Donald Macdonald, and with official duties performed by Francis Jefferson, chair of the memorial committee. The service included the singing of the 23rd Psalm.

Six youngsters – all with family connections to the Iolaire tragedy – joined together to unveil the sculpture, giving the community their first look at the memorial to all those who suffered when the Iolaire was lost on the Beasts of Holm in the early hours of January 1, 1919.

Another youngster, 14-year-old piper Aaron Ingram, performed a key role in the service – playing Pipe Major Donald Macleod’s famous piobaireachd, Lament For The Iolaire. The rain started to fall as the service closed.

The memorial stone was fully funded by Point and Sandwick Trust. The charity, which owns and operates the turbines at Beinn Ghrideag for the benefit of the community, had been approached for a contribution but offered to meet the £2,200 costs of the memorial in full.

After the service, Point and Sandwick Trust chairman Norman Mackenzie said: ‘It was a lovely service – first class, actually. It was very fitting. From Point and Sandwick Trust’s point of view, we are pleased to have been in the position to fully fund the request from the committee and the fitting permanent memorial.’

The granite memorial, which is decorated with a ring of coloured poppies, came from a company on the mainland. It was the Point and Sandwick Trust’s final act of charitable support for a programme of events in remembrance of the Iolaire throughout 2018.