Happy 101st birthday for Dolan at An Acarsaid

Dolan and niece Margaret pictured with the staff of An Acarsaid

An Acarsaid was a hive of activity on Monday as a 101st birthday party was held for resident Donald MacAskill.

Affectionately known as Dolan, the former seaman from Lewis is an ever popular welcoming face at the Broadford care home and always has his captain’s hat at hand – a gift from Calmac master and fellow Lewisman Iain MacKenzie, during a visit to the MV Lochnevis to celebrate his 100th last year.

Local musicians performed at Dolan’s party and the sprightly veteran was eager to take the floor for a dance. Dolan is pictured with his niece Margaret MacRae from Inverinate and members of staff.
This week Dolan is also due to feature on a Gaelic TV documentary, Trusadh, which shines the spotlight on a group of centenarians who look back on a century of memories.

Produced by MacTV, Na Ceudanaich (The Centenarians) features some of the best stories of the last 100 years through the eyes of Scots who have lived through so much, including a World War, the establishment of the BBC and the NHS and even developments such as the introduction of electricity and running water to their homes.

Dolan and his niece Margaret

Born in the early 1920s this episode features star contributors from Lewis, Harris, Argyll, Skye and Edinburgh – who will take viewers on a stroll down memory lane.

This week marked the anniversary of the infamous SS Politician which ran aground on Eriskay in 1941 dropping her cargo of 260,000 cases of whisky into the Hebridean seas.

Stornoway-lad Willie ‘Bucach’ Macleod was part of the salvage team who was sent to Eriskay and in his mischievous and engaging style he lifts the lid on stories of the salvage attempts.
Willie also recalls coming close to serious injury or possibly death during an air raid blitz on a London pub during World War II.

Another of the centenarians featured is Donald Angus Morrison from Cromore in South Lochs, Lewis who was one of the first in the Western Isles to receive a birthday card from the new King.
He shares vivid memories of the Clydebank Blitz and is still very able on his feet – and on wheels- as he showcases on his quad where he is only too happy to continue helping out on the family croft.
In Skye the programme meets with John MacKenzie who trained at Fort George and also served in Monte Cassino in 1944 as a duty driver.

Few living men or women will have witnessed first-hand the devastating consequences and destruction of an atomic bomb but Murdo MacDonald of Kensaleyre in Skye can – as he spent time in Japan in the immediate aftermath of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.
Catherine Potter from Kilmore, outside of Oban recalls being reprimanded at school for speaking Gaelic; Dolan MacAskill reminisces of days before running water in island homes and Tiree native Margaret Kennedy feels there was more community spirit when she was growing up than there is today.

Mary Jane Fraser from Stornoway, meanwhile, remembers the days of the herring girls working hard on the pier in the town, which at its height employed up to 3,000 island women in the industry.

Trusadh – Na Ceudanaich (The Centenarians) airs on BBC Alba on Monday, 13th February at 9pm and will be available on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after.