The Isle of Harris learnt with sadness yesterday (Monday December 3rd) of the death of one of Harris Tweed industry’s great supporters, Maureen Mackay of the Luskentyre Harris Tweed Company.

Maureen came to Harris on holiday from her home in Rugby, Warwickshire and met her husband, the celebrated tweed weaver Donald John Mackay, during her visit. Their marriage provided tremendous support to both and helped the expansion of Donald John’s business to reach royalty and international fame.

Handling all communication with buyers, including deliveries of orders, over many years, it was Maureen who first received the enquiry from Nike which led to the development of a limited edition Harris Tweed running shoe. An example of the unique footwear now features in the display at Museum nan Eilean.

Maureen also accompanied Donald John to London to receive his MBE at Buckingham Palace in 2012, with Donald John commenting then that he would be ‘lost without her’.

In 2013 Donald John was awarded the Weavers’ Company Silver Medal by the Worshipful Company of Weavers. The Harris Tweed Authority said at that time: “Donald John, together with his lovely wife Maureen, contribute very significantly and generously to the promotional efforts of the Authority. They give freely of their time, knowledge and hospitality to journalists, buyers and the many other visitors we host every season.”

In recent years Maureen had suffered prolonged ill-health, taking a back seat in the business as she underwent hospital treatment. A notice from Maureen’s family posted yesterday said that she passed away on Sunday, December 2nd.

There is to be a service of family worship at Leverburgh Free Church on Thursday 6th December at 9pm.

The funeral service will be at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Newton Street in Stornoway, at 11am on Friday 7th December. Maureen was a member of the congregation there.

Interment will be at Luskentyre Cemetery, not far from their home, at approximately 1pm on Friday.

All friends and family are warmly invited to attend the services and interment.

The picture shows Maureen and Donald John Mackay outside their Luskentyre home (family of Maureen Mackay).