Seil ex­hi­bi­tion a tri­umph of com­mu­nity spirit

The Oban Times - - Review of the Year -

A SLATE Is­lands ex­hi­bi­tion en­ti­tled, 200 years of is­land com­mu­nity: peo­ple, his­tory, change and re­newal, on the isles of Seil, Eas­dale and Lu­ing, im­pressed visi­tors with its wealth of re­search at Seil Hall in El­len­abe­ich over the week­end of Oc­to­ber 22-23.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, or­gan­ised by the Scot­tish Slate Is­lands Her­itage Trust, based in the El­len­abe­ich Mu­seum, brought to­gether ‘a blitz of re­search’ gath­ered by 10 au­tonomous teams, com­pris­ing at least 25 lo­cal vol­un­teers.

Ar­chi­tect He­len Glen­nie from Seil re­searched each life and story be­hind all the names in­scribed on the Slate Is­lands’ war me­mo­rial, which com­mem­o­rates lo­cal sol­diers from Kil­bran­don Parish who died dur­ing the First and Sec­ond World Wars.

‘This has taken me two years,’ said He­len.

‘Thirty-nine men lost their lives in the First World War: 20 per cent of the el­i­gi­ble young men. In a small com­mu­nity, 39 is an aw­ful lot.

‘Most of the men who died in the Somme have no known graves. I num­bered them all one to 39 and put in all the in­for­ma­tion I could find. I’ve just been re­search­ing as much as I can.’

Ron Hether­ing­ton had an idea to com­plete the dis­play with a model of a trench from the Bat­tle of the Somme, to mark its cen­te­nary in 2016.

Three is­land men – Alan Coutts, Ge­orge Hous­ton and Bill Clark – set to work con­struct­ing the trench, com­plete with hes­sian sand­bags stuffed with poly­styrene, sil­ver spray-painted card­board as cor­ru­gated iron, lit­tered with spent shells, bully beef tins, cig­a­rette play­ing cards and a fluffy toy rat.

Ron Hether­ing­ton and He­len Glen­nie at the Seil war me­mo­rial ex­hi­bi­tion.

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