On Wednesday 7 September staff and pupils at the Isle of Raasay Primary enjoyed the chance to host a special guest when HRH The Princess Royal visited their school.
Her arrival was heralded by the school’s piping tutor Mr Eddie Seamon who performed a selection of tunes as Head Teacher Mrs Wilma Duncan extended a warm welcome and presented School Clerical, Mrs Rhona Gillies, Classroom Assistant Mrs Catherine MacLeod, School Cook and Cleaner, Mrs Ann McGowan and Parent Council Representative, Mr Iain Hill.
Once inside, before meeting the 5 pupils currently attending the school, HRH had the chance to chat with former Head Teacher Mrs Sandra Smith, as well as the Highland Council’s Area Education and Learning Manager Mrs Mhairi MacDonald and recently retired Deputy Lord Lieutenant Mr John Laing.
Class Teacher Miss Donna Mackenzie then introduced the pupils Hamish Blair P7, Calum Duncan P6, Alexander Hill P3, Harrison Downie P2 and Eachann Hill P1.
HRH then had the opportunity to look over a display of classwork and find out more about the recent projects pupils have been working on.
She was then entertained by pupils performing `Make Your Way to Stornoway’ and reciting Gaelic poetry before Gaelic Singer Ms Anne Martin introduced their Treoir Project which relates to the cleared village of Fearns.
HRH enjoyed listening to Mrs Martin and the pupils perform ‘Tobhta Fearna’, a song composed by the children for the project.
After hearing some background to the story of Calum’s Road, The Princess Royal was presented with a gift of Calum’s Road book by Hamish Blair.
Calum Duncan then presented a copy of a poem created by the children for the Treoir Project and on behalf of all the staff and pupils, Alexander Hill presented a scarf of Raasay tartan design woven by local weaver Miss Lillian MacLeod.
The visit drew to a close with Her Royal Highness being invited to sign the visitor book before being given a rousing send off by pupils, staff and guests and the playing of the pipes.
Speaking after the visit, Head Teacher Wilma Duncan said:
“We all really enjoyed the chance to showcase some of the excellent work pupils are doing at our small school.
“Her Royal Highness showed a lot of interest and asked lots of questions.
“I want to thank the pupils, staff and the wider school community for all their efforts to ensure the visit was such a success.”
After visiting Raasay Primary The Princess Royal was escorted to the Isle of Raasay Distillery where she was introduced to Co-founder and Master Distiller Mr Alasdair Day, Co-founder and Chairman Mr Bill Dobbie, Operations Director Mr Norman Gillies and Assistant Manager Miss Chloe Leeman.
A tour of the Distillery followed with the chance to meet staff in the production area, the bottling area and the front of house team at the shop and visitor centre.
On her departure she was presented with a gift of a bottle of Isle of Raasay Single Malt with a personalised label.
The visit to Raasay ended with The Princess Royal having the opportunity to meet the team behind the Raasay Walled Garden Community Project.
Mrs Katherine Gillies invited her to walk around the restored Victorian Garden that includes a Rose Garden, an Orchard and volunteer vegetable plots.
As well as being shown around the garden areas and the polytunnels where a wide array of flowers and vegetables are grown, The Princess Royal spoke to volunteers and heard more about the restoration work carried out to date and the groups plans for the future.
She was then presented with a posy of flowers and a basket of produce from the garden by 13-year-old Nelly Blair.
Before arriving on the Isle of Raasay The Princess Royal had stopped off at Camping Skye in Broadford to be shown around the site and to find out more about the work of the Broadford and Strath Community Woodlands Project.
During the visit she met volunteers and members of the Broadford and Strath Community Company and was taken on a guided tour of the Growers Hub, the Village Community Garden, the Men’s Shed, and the Outdoor Learning base of the Corry Capers group where local nursery and P7 children were playing.
The visit ended with Her Royal Highness presenting the Queens Award for Voluntary Service to Nicholas Kelly and Alison MacLennan on behalf of everyone involved in the Woodland Project.
The Lord Lieutenant Mrs Joanie Whiteford said:
“We were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness to Broadford and Raasay for what was a fantastic day.
“The sun shone and we hope The Princess enjoyed the visit as much as we did.
“She spent a long time speaking to everyone, finding out more about the excellent work going on at each venue.
“What really shone through during the whole day was the dedication, hard work and strong community spirit of all the volunteers, the school staff, pupils and the team at the distillery.
“This visit by The Princess Royal has been made even more poignant, as she left us to return to Balmoral to be with The Queen, who sadly died 24 hours later.
“I am sure I speak on behalf of everyone she met in sending our sincere condolences to all members of The Royal Family at this very sad time.
“I would like to pay tribute to The Queen’s lifetime of selfless service given to our Nation and the Commonwealth.”