Manchester attack: Tributes paid to Barra teen Eilidh MacLeod

Emotional tributes are being paid to the Barra teenager Eilidh MacLeod who has now been confirmed a victim in Monday night's terror attack in Manchester

Eilidh MacLeod, 14, from Barra. Picture: SWNS

The 14-year-old’s family have been left devastated by the death of the ‘vivacious’ schoolgirl, whose friend, Laura MacIntyre, 15, was seriously injured and is being treated in a Manchester hospital.

Eilidh’s parents issued a statement via the police, saying: “Our family is devastated and words cannot express how we feel at losing our darling Eilidh.

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“Eilidh was vivacious and full of fun. She loved all music whether it was listening to Ariana or playing the bagpipes with her pipe band.

“As a family we would like to express our thanks and gratitude for the support and kind messages we have received at this difficult time.”

On Twitter First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led the tributes, saying: “This is heartbreaking news. My thoughts are with Eilidh’s mum and dad, and all of her family and friends.”

Local MP candidate and family friend Angus Brendan MacNeil said: “Deeply tragic news announced that Barra’s Eilidh MacLeod lost her life in Monday night’s Manchester bombing. Fois Shioraidh thoir dhi. (rest in peace).”

Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson also paid tribute, writing: “Awful. The thoughts of the whole country will be with Eilidh’s family and friends.”

Scots telly host Lorraine Kelly said: “This is unbearably sad. Thoughts with everyone on Barra.”

Former First Minister Alex Salmond said: “With particular thoughts today for the families of Eilidh MacLeod and Laura MacIntyre from Barra.”

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Convener Norman A MacDonald has expressed sincere condolences to the family of Eilidh.

Mr MacDonald said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Laura and Eilidh, and with all those affected.

“The Comhairle working with other partners is putting in place the necessary support arrangements for pupils and staff and we will continue to do everything that we can to assist during this very difficult time for all concerned.

“Flags will fly at half-mast at schools across the islands and at Comhairle offices out of respect. We share the feelings of all those who grieve and who are suffering as the impact of this atrocity continues to be felt.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said: “Sad, terrible news. Eilidh - rest in peace.”

Ian Blackford, Highland MSP, said: “Just so utterly gut wrenching. Can’t begin to imagine how Eilidh’s family and friends are. Thoughts and prayers with all of them.”

Eilidh and Laura were pupils at Castlebay Community School.

Headteacher Annag Maclean said: ‘The recent incident in Manchester was a planned and violent act targeted at young people enjoying a social event.

“Our school and island community are in shock, feeling numb and struggling to come to terms with it.

“Tragically, Eilidh’s life has been cut short and our worst fears have been realised.

“However, Eilidh, what she did and what she was will remain with each of us who knew her so well.

“Laura, who is very ill in hospital, is in our thoughts and prayers and we sincerely hope that she will make a full recovery and return to us soon.

“As headteacher, I am confident that our school and our community will continue to support Eilidh and Laura’s families.

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan said: “They are a well-regarded and well thought of family on the island.

“This is a very difficult sitruation. There is a huge resolve and good will and sympathy for them, not just in the Western Isles but throughout Scotland.

“I am sure the community will be doing everything they possibly can to help.”

Castlebay and Vatersay Community Council chairman Michael Galbraith said: “It’s a msall place. Every island will be feeling it, not just Barra. I think it’s a tragedy and feel very sorry for the parents.”

On Wednesday, Catholic Bishop of Argyll and the Isles Brian McGee travelled to the island to visit the girls’ families.

He said: ‘This is a time of terrible anguish for the MacLeod and MacIntyre families.

‘Spending time with the relatives of both girls was a reminder of the human cost of acts of terror.

‘Such acts leave families broken, lives scarred and innocence destroyed. My thoughts and prayers are with the families at this traumatic time.’

Church of Scotland minister Rev Dr Lindsay Schluter said no-one on the island had been unaffected by the terror attack.

‘People have been numbed by what has happened to the two girls and everybody continues to be very anxious about their welfare,’ the minister for Barra and South Uist said.

Voluntary Action Barra & Vatersay have set a fundraising page for the families.

They said: “The two young girls were victims of the barbaric terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena.

“The incident has left the communities of Barra and Vatersay deeply shocked, with heavy hearts for the girls and their families. We ask that you show your support for the families and donate what you can.”

Other tributes have been paid on social media.

Stewart McDonald said: “What a tragic week this has been. Sending love from Glasgow to Barra as they process this horrendous news.”

On Facebook, one said: “What can lift the black blanket from Barra and Vatersay? Two young girls with their lives in front of them. RIP.”

Another wrote: “A stunningly beautiful, talented lovely girl who will be missed so dearly by all who knew her ... my heart breaks for Marion, Roddy, Shona & Laura. Sleep tight Eilidh - ‘gus am bris an là xxx.”