A minute’s silence for the victims of the Glasgow helicopter tragedy will be held in Stornoway on Thursday evening.
The poignant moment will be marked at 7pm just before the Christmas lights are switched on ahead of a carol service and street ceilidh.
It has emerged that two of the aircrew on board the helicopter which crashed into The Clutha pub had family ties to the islands.
All the money raised at the Stornoway community street ceilidh will go to the Clutha Appeal Fund, which was set up by Glasgow City Council, for the families of the victims.
David Traill, the former RAF Chinook pilot who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, had family on his father’s side who were from Harris. He regularly visited Drinishader, where his father was often as a young man, and visited relatives there just a few months ago.
And the mother-in-law of police navigator Tony Collins lived at Uig on Lewis until her sad death a few months ago. Friends at the village of Reef, where Margot Pratt stayed with her husband, said they met Mr Collins when he was up at that sad time.
Adventurer Niall Iain Macdonald will be the host on Thursday evening. The BBC presenter is planning to row solo across the Atlantic next summer.
Reverend Tommy Macneil will relate the story of the Nativity. If the weather turns bad, the whole event may have to transfer to the town hall.
As well as a host of music and dance performers who will be taking part in the stramash, other attractions include a hog roast and, of course, Santa. Local businesses and volunteers have also said they will ladle out free lentil soup and stovies and give what help they can.
Event co-ordinator and noted fiddler Jane Hepburn, who was disappointed the usual lights switch-on was cancelled due to lack of funds and whose suggestion of a community event led to the planned ceilidh and stramash, said: “Things are going really well so far and it’s all thanks to everyone’s contributions.”
Tony Robson of Stornoway Amenity Trust said: “This is a positive moment, Young people together with the Stornoway Amenity Trust are working together to make Stornoway a great place to live and enjoy life, despite difficult economic circumstances.”
The planned programme so far – all times may be subject to change:
7.00 A minute’s silence
7.01 Switch-on. MC Niall Iain Macdonald and Councillor Charlie Nicolson
7.10 The Nativity Story with Reverend Tommy
7.20 Sharon Macdonald Highland Dancers
7.50 Lynne Maclean Dancers
8.00 Carol singing by local singers and brass band
8.20 Kirstie Anderson dancers
8.30 Stramash ceilidh singalong and dancing
8.50 Lynne Maclean Dancers
9.00 Stramash resumes
9.25 Auld Lang Syne
Drivers are reminded the Perceval Square car-park will close at 6pm. Later, an after-party – for adults only, of course – will continue in the Crown Hotel.
What: Stornoway street ceilidh
When: Thursday, 5 December 2013
Where: Perceval Square, Stornoway
The Clutha Appeal Fund has been set up by Glasgow City Council for the families of the victims. Donations are being accepted on 0141-287 7878.