An employee from Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution is packing his bags and heading to Harris for his summer holiday, thanks to an extraordinary act of kindness by one of the island’s residents.
Annie Tempest — who lives and works on Harris — was so grateful to those who worked to restore electricity during the January storms that she gifted a week long stay in her holiday cottage to one of them. Unsure how to make the initial offer, Annie turned to social media to get her message across.
She explained: “The storms we had here in January were among the worst I’d seen and when I thought of the appalling conditions the engineers were working in to get our electricity back on, I felt I had to show my thanks.
“I thought about those workers who might only ever get to know Harris as a place where the wind is constantly howling and the rain never stops lashing down. I wanted to ‘pay it forward’ and show my gratitude to those who made it easier for me to live here when the weather was at its worst.
“July is stunning here, so I booked out my holiday home — Moorfield Cottage — for the last week of the month, then posted my message of thanks and my offer of the stay on SSEPD’s facebook page.”
Taking up the offer, the company made a “draw” of the 1000 workers involved in restoring power during the storms. And Ross Marquis, a charge hand in the tree cutting department based in Inverness, was the lucky winner.
He said: “I actually thought it was a joke when I got the phone call. When I answer my work phone, I expect to be told about the details of a job, not a holiday cottage on Harris.
“I can’t get over Annie’s generosity and it really means a lot to me and my colleagues to know that what we do is appreciated. During the storms in January, I was based in Gairloch and the surrounding areas for 10 days, repairing power lines and carrying out tree cutting works where trees had come down in the strong winds and damaged the power lines.”
Thanks to Annie and her partner Rob — who helps to run the cottage and ensures that every visitor to it is greeted with a freshly baked loaf — Ross is now looking forward to a week in the Western Isles with his partner Natalie and their dogs, Jesse and Coullie.