Highlands & Islands

Eilidh MacLeod: Memorial to Manchester terror attack teenager

Eilidh MacLeod Image copyright Eilidh MacLeod Family
Image caption Eilidh MacLeod was among the 22 people killed in 2017's terrorist attack

A sculpture is being created in memory of a teenager from the island of Barra who died in the Manchester Arena attack in 2017.

Eilidh MacLeod, 14, was one of the 22 people killed by a terrorist's bomb following an Ariana Grande concert.

Her friend Laura MacIntyre survived but was badly injured.

Eilidh was a member Sgoil Lionacleit Pipe Band and the life-size bronze sculpture will feature a young female bagpiper with her pipes at rest.

The young woman will be reaching out a hand to a young boy who is also learning to play the instrument.

The design, created by Sussex-based artist Jenna Gearing in consultation with Eilidh's family, is intended to reflect the teenager's "love of music and her willingness to support others in the island community where she grew up".

The sculpture is to be placed in a newly-created memorial garden overlooking Vatersay in Barra next year.

Image copyright Jenna Gearing/Eilidh MacLeod Memorial Trust
Image caption The design for the sculpture was created in consultation with Eilidh's family

London-based Ardonagh Community Trust donated funding to the memorial, which forms part of the work being done by the Eilidh MacLeod Memorial Trust.

Eilidh's father, Roddy, said: "As a family losing Eilidh in such a cruel way was truly horrific.

"We could never adequately thank all the individuals, the communities and Eilidh's friends who gave us so much love and support in our time of need and indeed continue to do so, especially when they were hurting too.

"Forming Eilidh's Trust and working together with Jenna along with family and friends on Barra has been an uplifting and positive experience for us all."

Image copyright Jenna Gearing/Eilidh MacLeod Memorial Trust
Image caption Work has started on the life-size bronze

Suzanne White, of the Eilidh MacLeod Memorial Trust, said: "Our intention for the sculpture of a young female piper is to ensure that Eilidh's life and her legacy are celebrated appropriately.

"The design has really captured her spirit and created a striking memorial to a very special young girl."

Artist Ms Gearing said she felt "incredibly privileged" to be part of the efforts to remember Eilidh and the "strength, unity and resilience" shown by all the families and communities caught up in the Manchester attack.

Image copyright Eilidh MacLeod Family
Image caption The memorial will celebrate Eilidh's love of music

She said: "I endeavour to do Eilidh's family justice and my hope is that the sculpture created will provide a place for reflection and to serve an endless reminder of the wonderful girl that remains so fondly in our hearts.

"The young lady looking down at the young boy kind of symbolises adults passing on their wisdom to children, and the child looking out to sea is almost like looking at one's future.

"It came about from a story the MacLeods told me of how Eilidh was meant to be teaching her young sister to play the bagpipes that year. That story really resonated with me and I wanted to encapsulate some of that."

Eilidh and her friend Laura both attended Castlebay Community School in Barra.

The two friends were attending the Ariana Grande concert with thousands of other pop music fans, having travelled to Manchester for the event with members of their families.

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