Is­land bids sad farewell to Eilidh

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­times.co.uk

ON A beau­ti­ful Barra beach in the pres­ence of fam­ily and friends, the body of ‘fun-lov­ing and bub­bly’ Eilidh Ma­cLeod was car­ried home, hav­ing been flown back from the city of Manch­ester.

Eilidh lost her life in the ter­ror at­tack fol­low­ing the Ari­ana Grande con­cert in Manch­ester Arena on May 22, hav­ing en­joyed the ‘ week­end of her life’ in the city.

While mu­sic was still ring­ing in her ears, she was caught up in the chaos of ter­ror­ism, some­thing that be­fore that day was unimag­in­able.

Why? was the ques­tion on the lips of the 1,000 mourn­ers who at­tended a mass at the Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Castle­bay. The ser­vice started shortly be­fore 11am on Mon­day (June 5).

Loud­speak­ers were fit­ted in the ad­ja­cent com­mu­nity hall for the huge num­ber of peo­ple who at­tended the fu­neral.

Eilidh’s cof­fin was cov­ered in the green and white flag of the is­land of Barra, and her fore­bears.

Her cof­fin was brought to the is­land by a small air­craft from the main­land. Lo­cal men car­ried it along the beach and into a hearse.

The fu­neral ser­vice was led by the par­ish priest, Fa­ther John Paul MacK­in­non.

In his in­tro­duc­tion, Fa­ther MacK­in­non said: ‘Eilidh was taken from us at such a young age – and we are hurt­ing and in pain with the loss of Eilidh from our lives.’

He re­minded mourn­ers: ‘In 14 years, Eilidh packed a lot into her life – 14 happy years. That’s so im­por­tant for us to re­mem­ber to­day. Eilidh was a happy girl. She had 14 happy years and in the last few days of her life she was the hap­pi­est you could ever imag­ine.

‘The last thing in Eilidh’s life was hap­pi­ness - she had spent a won­der­ful week­end away from the is­land, go­ing shop­ping, go­ing to nice cafes, go­ing to the cin­ema and then go­ing to her pop idol’s con­cert – Ari­ana – she was the hap­pi­est she had ever been – and that’s what we hold onto to­day: the hap­pi­ness of Eilidh’s life.

‘Those mem­o­ries of Eilidh will live on in all our hearts. Ev­ery year of her life was pre­cious to us and we thank God for bless­ing us with her pre­cious life.

‘The fam­ily have been over­whelmed by the great gen­eros­ity and love that they have re­ceived ever since they lost their Eilidh.’

Eilidh’s grand-un­cle Don­ald Man­ford moved the mourn­ers, say­ing: ‘In con­trast to the hate that took her life, Eilidh’s life was and now stands as a tes­ta­ment for­ever in the world of love, in­no­cence, good­ness, kind­ness and faith. We will look af­ter each other – we will love one an­other.’

Dur­ing the ser­vice the con­gre­ga­tion heard a pipe record­ing of

Both Sides of the Tweed, played by Eilidh, who was a mem­ber of Sgoil Lion­cleit Pipe Band. The Gaelic choir also sang. And as the mourn­ers left, Ari­ana Grande’s song My Ev­ery­thing was played.

The con­gre­ga­tion also prayed for Laura MacIn­tyre, who was se­ri­ously in­jured dur­ing the tragic events.

Fa­ther MacK­in­non said: ‘We pray for Eilidh’s good friend Laura, who is in hos­pi­tal in Manch­ester. We pray to our Lord Je­sus to bring strength and heal­ing to Laura in her recovery and to give strength and peace to her par­ents and fam­ily at this time.’

Prayers were of­fered for all those af­fected.

Fa­ther MacK­in­non added: ‘We pray for all who have been af­fected by the Manch­ester at­tack; for all who have been in­jured, for all who have died, for all who feel pain and hurt. May the Lord Je­sus unite us to­gether as God’s chil­dren and help us all to live in God’s love and peace.’

Laura re­mains in hos­pi­tal with ‘se­ri­ous head and leg in­juries’.

In the si­lence of the Isle of Vater­say grave­yard, Eilidh was laid to rest.

Eilidh’s cas­ket, draped in the Barra flag, is car­ried across the beach at the is­land air­port.

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