All change as Skye Mod make plans to expand

As part of plans to rejuvenate the Skye Provincial Mod, the competition is to be opened up to participants from outwith the island for the first time.

At the recent annual general meeting of the Mod a new committee (some of whom are pictured) was elected and a three-year development plan created.

Portree’s Stuart Jackson, a silver medallist at the National Mod, has been elected as chairman; Shona Campbell is vice-chair, Margaret Nicolson treasurer and Mary Ann MacKenzie will act as secretary. Additional committee members are now being sought to fill roles such as developing a social media presence, fundraising and local area representatives.

The new committee now hope to develop the Mod – which has seen a downturn in entries in recent years – with any funds raised to be fed back into Gaelic and music tuition in schools on the island.

As part of this development, this year’s Mod – from Thursday 5th to Saturday 7th June – will for the first time be open to competitors from outwith Skye and it is hoped this will provide better competition and larger classes.

In 2015 adult competitions will be reintroduced after a gap of several years — something Mr Jackson said had received a “100 per cent positive reaction”, with interest expressed from competitors across Scotland.

And by 2016 it is hoped to have significantly increased entries from secondary school pupils.

Mr Jackson said: “If there is not a structure of tuition and help for those moving from primary to secondary we have to try to provide it.

“Other than the Trotternish area there are very few entries from Skye at the National Mod. They are obviously doing something right, and we need to keep up to date with the needs of each area of the island. If we can do this and raise more money, this will allow us in turn to provide more support for tuition. If we can provide this it will be of great benefit to people looking to compete in the National Mod – creating a support network like this is our greatest aim.”

In another change, National Mod standard adjudicators have been secured for this year’s Skye Mod, among them Gold Medallists Calum Ross, Ronnie Murray and Riona White. In addition to judging they will take to the stage along with guest singers for a Mod concert in the Royal Hotel in Portree on the final evening of the Mod (7th June). Former Gaelic ambassador Allan Campbell will act as fear-an-tighe.

A Mod programme will also be reintroduced and sold for a small charge, and this will serve as entry to events.

The committee are now appealing for volunteers and sponsors and anyone interested should contact Stuart on 07901 943700 or Mary Ann on 01470 582494.