Obituary: George MacLeod
The eulogy read out at George’s requiem mass
George Vincent Macleod was born on 11 December 1948 was brought up on the Island of Barra. He left home at the young age in 1960 to complete his secondary education at the Abbey. He was initially employed by BP Oil in Glasgow but returned home in 1967, at the age of 19, to run the family business, the Castlebay Hotel and Bar, due his father’s ill health.
Over his years in Barra, his entrepreneurial spirit was evident. He converted an old church into a second hotel, the Heathbank in 1974 and built a boat so he could cater for Sea Angling parties and market the hotel at the same time. With Maureen, he bought and renovated the Isle of Barra hotel in 1983 and attracted large bus tours, which greatly increased tourism on the island.
He had a love of boats and respect for the sea. He built two passenger ferries and ran services for between neighbouring islands for many years – this was a lifeline for many people in the remote community to allow access to shops and doctors on the larger islands. He was very involved in the running of the Barra Royal National Lifeboat Institution with roles including Launching Authority, Honorary Treasurer and Honorary Secretary.
As well as his active role in the local community, he held non-executive director positions such as Caledonian MacBrayne and was Chairman of both Consort Hotels and Western Isles Enterprise.
In 1978, George married Maureen. They were married 36 years and spent all their life living and working together. With George being the eldest of 9 children and Maureen the eldest of 10, they have a large and very close knit family. George and Maureen brought up 2 daughters, Morven and Fiona and were delighted to welcome their granddaughter, Caitlin Mairead Fulton in August 2013.
George and Maureen retired in 2006 and after Morven and her husband Craig moved to Melbourne in 2007, George fell in fell with the lifestyle in Australia and enjoyed the majority of his retirement years in Melbourne, spending his time with his family (Fiona also moved out in 2008) and many great new friends and golf buddies.
George passed away at home surrounded by family in Melbourne on 13 November 2014. His ashes will return to Barra with mass at Our Lady Star of the Sea church, Castlebay, Isle of Barra at 11am on Saturday 4th July and afterwards at Cuithir cemetery.