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James Macleod “Laoidhridh” - a tribute

Portrait of James taken by: Sradag Creative

I first met Laoidhridh over 40 years ago, when the original Comunn Eachdraidh Nis shared a base in the Dell Hall with his squad. Like the Comann Eachdraidh his squad was also a job creation team, and his quiet good humour and practical skills ensured no matter what the job got done.

During this time Co Chomunn Nis was formed and in due course Laoidhridh brought these same practical skills to the role of manager. Here again his quiet personality and knowledge of the community served him well with staff and customers alike.

It was no surprise then that when the first working group was set up to explore the possibility of a community purchase of Galson Estate, Laoidhridh was one of the first to volunteer and in due course was elected to the Board. Once again, his practical skills, his experience of managing a community owned business, and wide knowledge of the crofting townships and the history of the area was a tremendous asset to the newly formed Urras. He was often the willing hand who was ready to help with jobs as diverse as draught proofing the original office in Bùth Lisa and helping understand the complexities of crofting regulation.

He was determined to get an appropriate stone which, suitably inscribed, would record the day on which the community took ownership of the estate. Only a very large piece of Lewisian gneiss, chosen for its shape and its colour, and taken from the shore in Swainbost would do. The stone was centre stage on the 12th of January 2007.

When he stepped down from the Urras Board, due to ill health, he was without doubt our senior Trustee by dint of time served and wide knowledge. News of his death yesterday was received with great sadness. I can truly say that all staff and trustees at the Urras remember him with great affection and are grateful for the support and friendship he showed to all of us over the years. One day soon the great stone will once again sit at the entrance to the business centre at Tom na Ba just as he wished.

We send our sincere condolences to Effie, Murdo, Mairi and Margaret at this very sad time.

Bidh sinn gad ionndrainn a charaid choir.

Agnes Rennie

Chairperson / Cathraiche

Picture taken by: Carola Bell.


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