Chairman's Report to AGM 2008

Category: Publications

Chairman's Report to AGM 2008 - February 22, 2008


Welcome to the AGM and thanks to the committee for their work throughout the year and that includes work by our very capable secretary and treasurer. Thanks also to all Society members and friends for their continued support.

Project - Genealogy Research and Digitising and Archiving of Comann Eachdraidh Material
I wish to thank all those involved in this project; Anna Munro for her work in digitising the Tolsta Croft History; Anna Mackenzie for scanning hundreds of photographs; committee members, especially Sandra, Cathie Mary, Mairead and Angus for the afternoons we spent checking and updating the records. I personally found this year the busiest year since the CE was started. Researching the village genealogy was laborious and time-consuming, but it was nevertheless rewarding in the end and, I believe, these records will prove a valuable resource for the Comann Eachdraidh . Throughout the past year I had several sessions in Stornoway with genealogist Bill Lawson. Bill will produce two volumes of the Croft History of Tolsta. The first volume will be available in August and the second volume before Christmas and I sincerely hope that these books will sell well in the community. We will join Hebridean Connections once their funding is finalised.

The contracted work with Anna Munro and Anna Mackenzie is now finished as our funding programme had to be completed by December 2007. Paying and collecting invoices, making sure claims were submitted on time etc kept me busy!

The financial assistance for the project was as follows:-


Community Economic Development     £4,202.15
Western Isles Enterprise   £2,578.15
CNES (Community Initiated Projects)     £1,485.60
Comann Eachdraidh Tholastaidh   £1,106.08
TOTAL   £9,371.98
This was distributed as follows:
Anna Munro   £3,989
Anna Mackenzie  £3,171
Material   £2,211.98
TOTAL   £9,371.98

Social Events
We had two main events in the Community Hall

• Aig Muir
This was a hugely successful evening where Tolsta seamen, past and present, gave accounts of some of their adventures at sea.

• Clann-Nighean Tholastaidh (Co-hosted by Comann Eachdraidh and Golden Oldies)
This was a particularly humorous evening where Tolsta ‘girls' showed that they had considerable fun while working in hotels, nursing, stewardess on ships etc.

Ard Walk
Because of the inclement weather the inaugural walk planned for May had to be postponed. The walk took place in September and walkers had a very pleasant afternoon going round the Ard. (See Winter 2007 Seanchas ). This walk is well marked now including a sign on the main road at Crossroads.

Other Items

Material Donations
Our good friend Angus Macleod, Siugaidh passed away in June last year. He was a great source of information and support and we miss him. His niece, Mairead, has passed on to the CE material he had collected. Thank you, Mairead.
This makes us realise that our office is getting rather full and maybe it is time for us to start thinking of acquiring larger premises.

Once again I wish to note that we depend on the sale of Seanchas and on private donations for our running costs. We are printing 420 copies every quarter and we have 102 subscribers. Seanchas is well received, but again may I appeal for articles or any pieces of information that you think should be included.

We continue to receive numerous enquiries from members and visitors by email, by letter and in person. This is very encouraging and we try to answer them all as best we can. We have 382 members. CNES reduced our per capita grant this year to £350.
The website and emails help the Comann Eachdraidh to keep in touch with a large number of overseas supporters. In the past Ruairidh and Donnie helped to keep the website updated, but they are both now getting on with their studies in Glasgow and it is in the Society's interest that we have someone in place to take over from them. Rhoda can continue with the basic updating, but for the more complicated entries, we should either, co-opt someone with the necessary skill or arrange a day's training for a committee member.

We bought a new computer last autumn and Innes Maciver installed a router for us, allowing us to access broadband on more than one computer and I would like to thank Innes for that.

Demography, February 2008
Quite a number of houses were bought and sold in the village this year and the steady movement of families made it difficult to keep the database up to date. This year has shown the biggest increase in population since we started keeping the database and the increase is not just in the over 60s, but in most of the other categories as well. No falling school rolls in Tolsta!


  AGM 2008    AGM 2007    AGM 2006    AGM 2005    AGM 2004 
Pre school children    33   28   32   30   32
School age children    75   70   70   64   65
Age: 16-18   6   9   11   11   7
Age: 18-59   250   243   243   244   242
Over 60s   165   158   147   140   140
TOTAL   529   508   503   489   486
Births (in 12 month period)    6   0   7   4   7
Deaths (in 12 month period)    6   2  1   7   11
Holiday homes   12   15   14   16   13
Unoccupied houses   4   7   6   5   5

Thanks again to all those who contributed to another successful year at the Comann Eachdraidh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Donald Murray, chairman.