It was big smiles all round as staff from NHS Western Isles handed over a cheque for £251.10 to the Stornoway Lifeboat Ladies Guild.

The money was raised by staff at the Health Board Offices on South Beach Street, Stornoway, in December by holding Christmas Jumper Day and a raffle for a hamper. 

As winners of the ‘best decorated office’ at Christmas, accountants Kathleen Maclennan and Nicola Pearson were given the choice of which charity should get the funds – and plumped for the RNLI, a cause close to their hearts.

For Kathleen in particular, her family ties to the lifeboat and the sea are strong. Her brother is a fisherman while her father, John Maclennan, was a crewman on the lifeboat for 25 years and is now chair of the Stornoway branch of the RNLI. Her partner has also joined the lifeboat.

Kathleen said: “With all these connections and living in an island community, we are so thankful to have the station here and it’s a very valuable service.”

Hailing from Oban, another coastal town, Nicola wholeheartedly agreed that their ‘winnings’ should go to the RNLI.

Ellen MacDonald, chair of the Stornoway Lifeboat Ladies Guild, and Maggie Macleod, its treasurer, were delighted to receive the cheque from health board staff.

Ellen said: “We really appreciate this donation. We are very thankful for everything that the community does to support us, and for everyone who thinks about the lifeboat, because there are so many different charities in Stornoway and every penny counts.

“Being an island community, everyone is aware of the dangers of the sea and the lifeboat service is a very necessary part of our community and a well supported part of our community.”

As Maggie pointed out, the RNLI does not receive any direct government funding and is dependent on charitable donations for its survival.

She added: “There are a lot of charities within the area of health, so it was exceptionally good of staff to think of the lifeboat at this time. We really do appreciate it.”