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Hebrides News


Barra and Vatersay say farewell to girl with “a heart full of love”

6 June 2017












The family of teenager Eilidh Macleod have thanked the Barra community for their support after she died in the Manchester terror attack.


The fourteen-year-old was killed at the Ariana Grande concert on 22 May. Her friend Laura Macintyre, 15, was severely injured.

Eilidh was buried in Vatersay yesterday following a requiem mass service at Our Lady, Star of the Sea in Castlebay.


In a message to mourners the MacLeod family said: “We would like to thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts, for the love and support, you have shown us since we lost our darling Eilidh.”


Prior to the service, Eilidh’s uncles and cousins carried her coffin the short distance from her home to the church.


Holding a white cord attached to the casket, her father Roddy led the procession. Her mother Marion and older sister followed immediately behind along with the extended family. A piper played as they walked up the lane to the church door.


Nearly 900 people attended. The chapel, overlooking the village and harbour, was full with the adjacent village hall used to accommodate the overspill. Scattered outside were over 100 islanders listening to the mass relayed by loudspeakers.


















After the first hymn - Be Thou my vision - her great uncle Donald Manford gave a tribute.


He said: “In contrast to the hate that took her life, Eilidh’s life was and now stands as a testament forever of the world of love, innocence, goodness, generosity, kindness, and faith.”


“We will look after each other, we will chase our dreams, we will love one another.”


Readings came from Exodus - My angel will go before you; 1 John - We shall see Him as He really is; Mathew 18 - Their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of my Father in heaven.


Father John Paul Mackinnon told mourners: “Eilidh was a fun loving, bubbly teenager.


“She had such a lovely personality, at times you thought she was shy but then when she opened up she was just a wonderful person to be around. She liked to be with people and enjoy their company.


“Eilidh had such a warm, gentle nature, a heart full of love.”


He said music was a “great passion” of Eilidh’s. She had a gift for eyebrow grooming and was learning about beauty therapy.


Music was a main part of the funeral. A recording of Ariana Grande song’s My Everything was played.


So was the tune, Gruagach òg an Fhuilt Bhàin  - The Young Fair-haired Maiden (from Barra).


The Gaelic hymn Reul Alainn a’ Chuain (Star of the Sea) closed the service.


A recoding of “Both Sides the Tweed” with piping by Eilidh and singing by Barra Gaelic Choir played as the coffin left the church.


A lone piper played airs including the farewell tune, “The Sands of Vatersay,” as the cortege wound its way down the lane. Across the main road was Eilidh’s house. The procession turned right towards the village square, her father Roddy walking in front holding with a cord. Her mother Marion and sisters followed holding a cord behind the coffin.  


In the square the coffin was gently transferred into the hearse which slowly drove along the main route through Castlebay towards Vatersay where Eilidh grew up. Over 100 cars followed, travelling past the MV Isle of Lewis ferry which has been flying flags at half mast - the crew attended the service - and passing Eilidh’s school where the Barra flag was also lowered as a mark of respect.


Eilidh was a piper with Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band, often travelling by ferry and road to Benbecula to practice. The entire youth pipeband attended the funeral mass and played four tunes in her honour.


Over 400 people attended the burial at Vatersay cemetery.









Flowers laid at Castlebay School for Eilidh MacLeod