Harris Tweed businesswoman dies in cliff plunge

Ann MacCallum on her appointment as manager of the Carloway Mill in 2010. Picture: Mike Merrit

Ann MacCallum on her appointment as manager of the Carloway Mill in 2010. Picture: Mike Merrit

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A BODY discovered on a beach in the Western Isles is believed to be that of businesswoman Ann MacCallum.

The 51-year-old is thought to have fallen from cliffs in the Swordale Bay area of Lewis on Thursday.

Her body was found by a dog walker at about 8:10am, and a post mortem will now be carried out.

Mrs MacCallum, a clothes designer, was the first woman to be appointed manager of a Harris Tweed mill.

Police cordoned off part of the area, five miles from Stornoway, as investigations were carried out.

However, they are not treating the death as suspicious.

Mrs MacCallum had kept a horse on a croft at the end of the road that leads to the shore.

It is believed she had gone to check on the animal when the tragedy happened.

In March 2010, Mrs MacCallum made Harris Tweed history by being appointed general manager of the Carloway Mill on Lewis.

She later left the mill to move to another business opportunity.

Her previous work in the Harris Tweed industry included creating a white Harris Tweed wedding dress and coat forScottish folk singer Alyth McCormack.

A spokeswoman for the mill said: “We are deeply sorry to hear of Ann’s death and very grateful to her long contribution to the industry.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Inquiries are continuing. However, the circumstances do not appear to be suspicious.

“A post mortem examination will be carried out and a report will be sent to the procurator fiscal.”

Mrs MacCallum was well known as the manager of Woolworths in Stornoway, before the national chain shut its branch in the town.

More recently she was the boss of the Wee W store, set up as a replacement to Woolworths.

A notice on the shop store read: “Due to a bereavement the store will be closed until further notice.”

She had joined the Carloway Mill as commercial manager and soon became general manager, and the first woman to run a Harris Tweed mill in the industry’s 149-year history.

She had recently expressed interest in a proposed drive to breathe new life into Stornoway town centre.

Mrs MacCallum, who was raised just outside Biggar, in South Lanarkshire, is survived by her husband, Neil, who works at Stornoway Hospital, and a grown-up son.

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