Breedon sponsors Western Isles in Island Games

Following its recent acquisition of Bardon Hebrides, Breedon Aggregates has agreed to continue sponsoring the Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA) as it prepares to depart for the NatWest Island Games in Bermuda in July.

Commenting on the sponsorship Alan Mackenzie, chief executive of Breedon Aggregates Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to have the opportunity of sponsoring the Western Isles as they set off to compete in the NatWest Island Games in Bermuda this summer.  We have a long track record of supporting local communities and sporting events in Scotland, including the Highland League Cup which we have sponsored for the last two years, and WIIGA is a great and worthy cause.

“We look forward to following the Association’s fortunes as they compete in this prestigious event.  We’re sure they’ll do the Western Isles proud.”

Breedon Aggregates is the UK’s largest independent aggregates business, with substantial operations in the north, west and east of Scotland, headquartered in Dundee.  Bardon Hebrides was one of a number of businesses north of the border acquired recently by Breedon from Aggregate Industries.

Iain Morrison, WIIGA Chairman, said: “We are delighted that Breedon Hebrides has agreed to continue sponsorship for the Bermuda Games.  Their parent company Breedon Aggregates has shown itself through the years to be committed to working with local communities and we look forward to creating a lasting relationship with them to help us continue to develop opportunities for our young people.”

The NatWest Island Games XV Bermuda 2013

The opening ceremony for the Games takes place on Saturday 13 July.  The first competition, on Sunday 14th, will be the Triathlon and competing in the Women’s event will be Stornoway lass Christina Mackenzie and Kerry Macphee from South Uist, as the Western Isles team begin their latest quest for Island Games medals.

The Nat West Island Games is held every two years and this year Bermuda has been chosen by the family of 24 member Islands to host the Games. This will be the fifth Games in which the Western Isles have competed since gaining membership prior to the 2005 Games held in Shetland.  Although travelling to Bermuda is a major challenge, both logistically and financially, it is vital that WIIGA supports the Games, albeit with a reduced squad.  The Island Games has become one of the biggest multi-sports events held worldwide.

The WIIGA team

The Western Isles team will have 15 athletes competing in over 30 events in four different sports across the six days of competition (the full squad is listed below). Five of the athletes competed back in 2005, including our first medallist, Eve Carrington.  Eve, along with other medallists Donnie Macleod, Eilidh Macleod, Doleen Galbraith and Murdo Alex Mackenzie, have since inspired many young Islanders to emulate them.

At the other end of the scale, teenager Jenny Mactaggart will be attending her first Games while 15-year-old swimmer Kara Hanlon will be attending her second.  Both of these youngsters have recently been inducted in the local Performance Development Programme, which is being developed to support talented athletes on the islands.

The athletes will be supported by their sports team managers, medical staff and WIIGA team management.

The main part of the team will leave Stornoway on 9 July to meet up with mainland-based team members at London’s Gatwick Airport, prior to flying out to Bermuda on 10 July.  Competitors will then have three days to acclimatise to the heat and humidity before competitions begin.  Coverage of the Games will be provided by BBC Gaelic, who are sending Alastair Fraser to Bermuda, through radio broadcasts and evening bulletins on BBC Alba’s An La news programme. There will also be regular updates through the WIIGA website and social media.

Background to WIIGA’s participation

Three of the main objectives behind applying for membership of the International Island Games Association were: to unite our island communities in sport; to inspire young people to take up sport; and to encourage development of the islands’ sports clubs and sporting community.  The Games have proved to be inspirational and provided an incentive for many young people to take up sport, whether for recreation or competition.  They have also led to stronger links being forged with sports governing bodies, sportscotland and WIIGA’s partners across the Highland and Islands region.

Partnership working throughout the island chain and beyond is helping to improve the opportunities for young people to lead an active lifestyle.  These range from the Play at Home scheme, introducing pre-school children to basic play skills at nurseries and at home through play leaders and childminders, the work of class teachers and PE teachers supported by Active Schools, to the clubs and associations supported by Sports Development, Sports Facilities Management, and our two local Sports Councils and Sports Governing Bodies. 

This has all been made possible through sportscotland funded schemes, local authority funding (both directly and through the Sports Councils), NHS Western Isles, funding organisations, and the generosity of local and national businesses and private donors. The cost of building and improving facilities, running the clubs and attending mainland competitions is considerable and without this financial support Island sport would not have been able to achieve what it has, so far.

With support from WIIGA, the local authority’s Sport & Health service have been fighting on behalf of the island’s high performers for the introduction of the sportscotland Institute of Sport’s Performance Development Programme.  There are now six young local athletes in the programme who have been showing potential in their chosen sports: two golfers, three athletes and a swimmer. The programme provides a range of athlete support including strength & conditioning, lifestyle coaching, food & nutrition advice and physiotherapy. Jenny and Kara are competing in Bermuda this summer and it is expected that others will feature in future games as the programme develops.

Western Isles Team for the NatWest Island Games XV Bermuda 2013

Jenny Mactaggart  Athletics
Eve Carrington  Athletics
Eilidh Mackenzie  Athletics
Doleen Galbraith  Athletics
William Macrury  Athletics
Donald Macleod  Athletics
Murdo Alex Mackenzie Athletics
Stewart Chalmers  Athletics
Cameron Ross  Athletics

Kerry Macphee  Triathlon
Christina Mackenzie Triathlon

John Neil Mitchell  Cycling
Ruaridh Michie  Cycling

Kathryn Offer   Swimming
Kara Hanlon  

Download press release