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Lairg & District Community Initiatives

Lairg War Memorial Centenary

At 11am on Friday the 30th September 2022, over 100 people gathered on a wild and stormy day to mark the ‘Rededication of the Lairg War Memorial’ on the 100th anniversary of its unveiling.

If you would like to view a recording of the service please click on this link.

Lairg & District Community Initiatives (LDCI) worked with Deputy Lieutenant Sheila Stewart and with other partners including the local churches, Lairg Primary School, Lairg & District Learning Centre and the local branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland to coordinate the celebration. As part of the event a beautiful, dramatic poppy cascade was displayed which features hundreds of hand knitted and crocheted poppies created by local people but also by people from much further afield who wished to take part.
Piper Layla Dalton led in those attending, including descendants of people named on the memorial. The service was led by Sandy Sutherland of Lairg Christian Fellowship, with contributions from Rev Hilary Gardener, Jonathan Brett Young, Jeff Norrie, Irene Grant, Sheila Stewart DL, Angela Sutherland and Rev Ben Fiddian.

In her speech, Angela Sutherland quoted from the Northern Times issue of the 5 October 1922 which reported on the Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony, saying: “Lairg War Memorial, erected on the hill leading up to Lairg Parish Church and commanding a splendid view of beautiful Loch Shin and surrounding district, was unveiled and dedicated on Saturday afternoon in presence of a large gathering of relatives of the fallen, Territorials, Scouts, Ex-Service Men, and the general public. Mr Edgar Horne, M.P., Lairg Lodge, unveiled the Memorial, and The Memorial, as stated, is erected half way up the hill and can be seen by all entering Lairg from the station and passing to and fro on the Main Road to the north.”

She also noted that, “The Northern Times report of the 5 October 2022 tells us of the weather on that day 100 years ago; it tells us about some of those who attended – what they did and what some said; it tells us of the design and material used in the construction of this memorial … BUT … it does not, and could not tell us, of the depth and magnitude of the collective grief and pain that filled the hearts of the gathered people as they mourned the deaths of their children, family, friends and neighbours. We all know what it is like to know the pain of grief at the loss of loved ones, but as we stand here today, we cannot begin to imagine the corporate grief felt by the folks of this community, remembering 55 souls who had been cut off in the prime of their lives, as this broken column signifies (…)  We rededicate this Memorial, with thanksgiving and appreciation, to the memory of those who gave their all, let us live as good neighbours, caring for those in need, and living at peace among ourselves and with all people.”

Following the poignant service, all the attendees were invited to Lairg Community Centre for lunch and to warm up, and were able to come together to share stories, photographs and memorabilia from their own or from their relatives’ military service.
Commenting on the Rededication Ceremony, Lairg & District Community Initiatives Chairperson Kaye Hurrion said, “The weather might have been against us on the day, but we only stood there for about an hour – when you think of what conditions those service men and women had to endure during wartime - an hour is nothing for us to give to pay our respects …”

Deputy Lieutenant Sheila Stewart added,
‘It was an amazing day and so uplifting seeing the support from the community and further afield.  Feedback has been so positive. We couldn’t do anything about the weather so we carried on regardless!  It was very emotional as Irene Grant read out the 66 names of the Fallen, and their descendants or Lairg Primary school children placed a cross in their memory.   The service followed that of 100 years ago and Angela Sutherland had carried out a great deal of research from old archives and delivered a very moving tribute and rededication. 
It felt like such an honour to be laying a wreath.  Many of those taking part told me that was indeed how they felt.  Thank you just doesn’t seem enough to all the people who not only made it happen but came along to support on the day. Thanks also to those who made poppies, we couldn’t have done it without you.  The poppy tribute is stunning.  A fitting and poignant tribute to our Fallen. We must always remember them… Thank you all it was such a pleasure to be part of this project.”

The poppy cascade will be displayed at the Lairg War Memorial until Remembrance Day in November. If people wish to view the recording of the service which was live streamed, it is available on the Lairg Sutherland Facebook page.

Lairg War Memorial Centenary Service

Contributors to the Service:
Sandy Sutherland
Jeff Norrie
Rev Hilary Gardener
Jonathan Brett Young
Irene Grant
Deputy Lieutenant, Sheila Stewart
Angela Sutherland
Rev Ben Fiddian
Laying of the Wreaths:
Willie Mackay
Angela Sutherland
Annette Parrott
Calum Macleod
Sandy Allison
Standard Bearers:
David Hannah
Nicholas Fry
Rob Pope
Donnie McNeil.
Laying of the Crosses:
The Descendants of the Fallen
The pupils and teachers from Lairg Primary School
Piper: Layla Dalton
Thank you also to:
Lairg & District Community Initiatives
Lairg & District Learning Centre
Lairg Community Centre
The Creich, Kincardine, Lairg & Rogart Branch of the Royal British Legion
Tracie Drummond

Finally – thank you to the many people from Lairg and further afield who have created the beautiful poppies to make the cascade.
Donations have been gratefully received from:
Cooke Aquaculture Loch Shin Lairg
Lairg Whist Club
Lairg Community Council
The Masonic Lodge Loch Shin No 1352
Shinness Estate
Lairg Gala Week
The Creich, Kincardine, Lairg & Rogart Branch of the Royal British Legion
​Sallachy Estate