Centenary commemorations for the anniversary of the Iolaire tragedy in Stornoway could be recognised tomorrow (Thursday October 10th) with an award celebrating the very best in local government initiatives.

The winner of the 2019 COSLA excellence (local matters) awards will be announced on Thursday evening at the Fairmont Hotel in St Andrews.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s commemoration programme – HMY Iolaire: A Community Remembers – is shortlisted by the local government organisation COSLA for the local matters category of their 2019 excellence awards.

A team of three from Stornoway were invited to make a formal presentation in Edinburgh in mid-September, after judges ranked the initiative in the top three from a list of ten local authority projects.

Colin George Morrison of CnES, Nicolson Institute pupil Hannah Macleod and historical authority Malcolm Macdonald went to the mainland and made their presentation alongside finalists from Highland Council’s parcel delivery law website and representatives of the Clydesdale integrated community support team from South Lanarkshire Council.

Malcolm Macdonald told welovestornoway.com: “The final presentation went as well as it possibly could have. Hannah’s presentation in particular was very accomplished and well-delivered. We felt like we acquitted ourselves well and can only now wait for the outcome.”

A panel of judges including experts from media, local and national government, the Scottish Parliament and the private sector will make the final decision, based on innovative practice. The awards are designed to celebrate effective responses to the major challenges that councils and their partners face.

HMY Iolaire: A Community Remembers was a commemoration event which included public services, performances and exhibitions and which culminated on the night of December 31st 2018 with a free concert and parade featuring commissioned music and local performers.

This was followed on January 1st 2019 with the unveiling of a new monument just yards from the site of the tragedy at the Beasts of Holm. The unveiling was attended by HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and by representatives of all the armed forces, and was accompanied on the water by a flotilla of vessels including the CalMac ferry Loch Seaforth, fishing vessels and the RNLI lifeboat.

Educational activity surrounding the centenary was delivered at all schools in Lewis and Harris. This included the Dileab music and performance project and construction of a new memorial designed and constructed by school pupils in Stornoway town centre.