A cheque for almost £9,000 has been presented to Bethesda Hospice as a tribute to the men lost in the tragedy of the Iolaire.

The cheque for £8,810.32 represents the first six months of royalties from the sales of ‘The Darkest Dawn’, the most complete factual account ever published of the events and context surrounding the wreck of the Iolaire on January 1st1919.

Author Malcolm Macdonald and Eileen MacLeod, widow of co-author the late Donald John MacLeod, presented the cheque recently to representatives of the hospice. Both authors had made it clear from the outset that all author royalties from the sales of the book were to be granted to Bethesda Hospice.

The high level of author royalties arising from the six months immediately following publication of the book, in November 2018, was partly due to commemorative events surrounding the Iolaire centenary, according to Agnes Rennie, general manager of the book’s Stornoway-based publishers, Acair.

Agnes said: “The scale of the payment represents the surge of interest in the Iolaire coinciding with the centenary events, which engendered an unexpected level of interest in the event and its factual context.

“Royalties reflecting continued sales will be paid to Bethesda over the years at the specific request of the authors.”

In a press statement following the presentation, a spokesman for Bethesda said: “The Bethesda Trustees were very grateful for this generous donation, especially in relation to the unstinting efforts of both authors to remember the fallen from 100 years ago and the continuing service provided by the Hospice to the island community.”

The Darkest Dawn: The Story of the Iolaire Tragedy is published by and available from Acair (https://www.acairbooks.com) priced £25.

The picture shows Eileen MacLeod and Malcolm Macdonald with the cheque before presentation (Acair).