A dedication service for the permanent granite wreath to be laid in memory of the Iolaire will take place at Garrabost Memorial Gardens on Saturday, March 2 at 11am.

The sculpture in remembrance of the disaster at the Beasts of Holm on January 1, 1919 has been commissioned by Point War Memorial Committee and paid for by community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust.

The service will be led by Rev Alasdair Macleod of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing). There will also be a piper and children from the Point and Sandwick area who have family connections to the disaster will play a role in the service.  Everyone is welcome to attend the ceremony.

John Murdo Nicolson, Treasurer of Point War Memorial Committee, stressed the dedication service was open to anybody but “obviously if there are any relatives, if as many of them turn up, that would be nice”.

He said the committee were pleased with the wreath and it was “a bit of a relief, after all the ifs and buts”, that it had finally arrived. It was a process which had begun with the committee trying to think of a suitable way to mark the centenary of the tragedy.

“We have a plaque in the Memorial Gardens anyway for the Iolaire, but seeing it was the 100th anniversary we felt we had to do something. It’s a permanent wreath, that will always be there.

“It took us a wee bit of time to come up with that and, of course, when we did look into it and get an idea of the costs it was quite expensive.

“But fortunately Point and Sandwick Trust came to our aid. Without that money, I think we’d be struggling. It’s funds that we didn’t have to spend so we’re really very thankful for that.

“I went to them to ask for a donation to help us along with it but in their generous spirit they decided to fund it all."

The granite wreath has been placed under the Iolaire memorial plaque, which bears the names of the men from the district who were lost, and will be unveiled on the day.

It was crafted by a company on the mainland and cost around £2,200.  For Point and Sandwick Trust, it was a final act of support for a programme of memorial events to mark the centenary of the Iolaire. 

Donald John MacSween, Point and Sandwick Trust general manager, said: “Point and Sandwick Trust were delighted to help the Garrabost War Memorial Gardens committee by meeting the cost of their Iolaire memorial plaque. The memorial and gardens have been well kept and looked after by a small dedicated group who also organise a well attended annual Armistice Service in the adjacent Church of Scotland.”

Picture: The Garrabost village, with the Memorial Garden visible between the churches. Picture by Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos