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The risks of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of volunteer donation collectors have hit the Cladh Hallan Cemetery in South Uist.

The cemetery, managed by the Cladh Hallan Association, has announced that there will be no annual door-to-door collection this year amid fears whether this type of fund-raising is going to be feasible in future.

To ensure continuing maintenance of the cemetery, the committee has uploaded a standing order on their website,

Announcing the switch away from face-to-face collections, the committee said: “This will ensure that the cemetery continues to be maintained to a high standard. A standing order either set up annually or monthly will continue indefinitely until the person cancels it, so it is something that only has to be done once and will be active year after year.”

Alternatively, donations for cemetery maintenance can be made using the “Donate” tab on the website or via online bank transfer. Standing orders are set from £2 per month or a one-off annual payment of £25.

The Cladh Hallan Association is a registered charity and maintains the community cemetery through voluntary donations by South Uist residents and exiles further afield who have family members interred.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has also hampered the uploading of grave details on to the association’s website for the past two and a half years. Currently, only one volunteer, who has a full-time job, is undertaking the recording work.

However, it is hoped that headway can be made during the summer months to rectify the backlog.