Doleen Galbraith Officiating at the XC Relays in Cumbernauld earlier this Year
At Giffnock North, this New Year,as we await the bells announcing the arrival of 2019 to sound, we have our own extremely significant and poignant connection to the important story hitting the headlines in Scotland today and particularly, the island of Lewis right now – the 100 Year Anniversary of the sinking of the Iolaire in the early hours of 1919 in sight of Stornoway harbour.For those who don’t know about this tragedy, particularly our youngest athletes, the Iolaire was the ship bringing home to the island a whole generation of young islanders – sailors- who had survived their struggles as part of the naval forces assembled for WW1 and were desperately trying to get home in time for the Bells.Over 200 young men drowned in the disaster
Our connection as a club is in the form of Doleen Galbraith one of our [& Scottish Athletics] most hardworking officials. When discussing this tragedy with her over the years the identity and unbelievable bravery of one of those sailors only emerged with gentle probing, echoing the modesty of her Grandfather John Finlay McLeod and his role on the fateful day.
For it was he who jumped in, swam to shore through what are unthinkable conditions, taking a rope which saved the lives of tens of men as they used it to leave the stricken ship.All of this happening, as the ship was crashing and sinking on the harsh rocks[ the appropriately named ” Beasts of Holm “as they are called on the island]
Many of our athletes have travelled over the last few years to the island to take part in and enjoy the brilliant regular Tri Club competitions organised by Stornoway AAC . Guess who always travels back to Lewis to officiate at these events as well as appearing on the start line of innumerable athletics events Indoor, Outdoor,District,National XC,League Meetings,Schools Competitions,SAIL Events,GAA meets locally and internal club events to assist our young athletes in getting used to competition and getting their foot on the start line. Yes, Doleen seems always to be there. We want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to that commitment of hers and to all our other hard working Club Officials, Anne Stewart,Colin Saxby, Graham Dunn, Neil Deery, Garry Paterson, Catriona Gourley, Danny O’Donnell, not forgetting Jim Galbraith who is another stalwart and indeed all the Scottish athletics officials who make our sport happen.