View from the Edge by Cath Macdonald

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It was October and, after a very busy summer with many visitors arriving, festivals, agricultural shows and the usual summer events,
things were getting quieter.

Then came a surprise – an attractive card with an invitation to attend an event to be held in the Tarbert Community Centre, Harris, on October 3.

This was to celebrate 40 years of ‘De  Tha  Dol’ (What’s doing), the Harris community newsletter. It is printed and published by Harris Voluntary Service (HVS), which had arranged this event.

After a warm greeting from HVS and the editorial team, we were able to walk around and look at previous copies of the newsletter which were laid out on tables around the hall.

Photos from times past had been set up on boards. This awoke memories of many people and events which had taken place over the 40 years since its inception.

After a good look through these, reminiscing and walking around for a while, we were invited to help ourselves at a lovely buffet which had been prepared by Laura’s Larder, a Harris business which began work recently and provides excellent homemade food.

There was a delicious variety, a selection of sandwiches, savoury wraps, homemade mackerel pate, and son on. This was followed by a dessert of chocolate brownies and apple and caramel sauce, then tea or coffee.

After the buffet, we sat down to hear of the history or life story of the De Tha Dol up to the present. This part of the event was chaired by Paul Finnegan, the editor of De Tha Dol, assisted by Effie MacLeod.

First invited to speak was Morag MacLeod from Scalpay. Morag was invited to take part in a scheme run by the Van Leer Foundation in the late 1970s.

There had been a feasibility study in Ness, Lewis, where it was shown that it would be a worthwhile scheme for parts of the Hebrides.

Three people were taken on, including Morag MacLeod for Harris. It was to last for three years. Morag was able to get a three-year secondment from her place on the staff of the School of Scottish Studies, a department of the University of Edinburgh.

NO F41 Morag MacLeod