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CalMac pulls out all stops to save big day on Barra

IT is every islander’s worst nightmare – that your wedding day will be ruined by the ferry service.

National ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne has suffered a troubled few years as it tries to renew a fleet that is ageing fast.

Nonetheless, Lisa Gilmour and Roddy Macinnes, from Barra, were still horrified when a last-minute hitch on “the boat” threatened their wedding day.

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Lifeline sailings were cancelled yesterday when the island’s ferry,

MV Isle of Lewis, developed a serious engine problem meaning there was no chance of the vessel being fixed by the afternoon.

Close relatives and friends had been booked on yesterday’s lunchtime ferry – and so too were the couple’s caterers, food, cake, flowers, wedding band and booze.

The couple had also planned to be on the pier to greet their guests.

Lisa burst into a tears at the prospect of her wedding seemingly being ruined.

“I had a meltdown and just kept crying,” admitted the 43-year-old insurance claims worker. “It was too much to handle. Everything to do with the wedding was to be on

that ferry.

“It’s been a very difficult time after and I’ve hardly slept a wink since I got the call from CalMac saying the ferry was cancelled. We have spent thousands of pounds getting lorries on the ferry with vital wedding supplies.”

Islanders, however, were determined that the couple would have their big day. MP Angus MacNeil, who lives on Barra, and other locals lobbied hard for CalMac to get a boat to the island.

“Obviously, a situation not of CalMac’s making, and on one of their busiest weekends of the summer,”

Mr MacNeil said. “But it looked like there would be no sailings for two days. That reality was communicated pretty directly to CalMac who then came up with the best sticking plaster to save the wedding.”

CalMac dispatched an emergency ship, MV Isle of Mull, to the island for a midnight arrival.

That was a massive relief for the couple, though the ferry’s late arrival pushes arrangements back.

Instead of relaxing with family and friends the couple were up to their eyes in preparations well into this morning.

Lisa said: “I really wanted that ferry to be on time. I’m pretty exhausted right now with all the stress and its going to take all night to set up the venue. We can’t even start decorating the place or laying the tables as the caterers have all the glasses and cutlery. The caterers will have to be there overnight to prepare the food and lights will have to be arranged

for them.”

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