Barra School 'In Shock' After Manchester Attack
24 May 2017, 17:28
School friends of two girls caught up in the Manchester attack are being offered support as the island of Barra struggles to come to terms with the events.
The families of Laura MacIntyre, 15, and Eilidh MacLeod, 14, from the Outer Hebrides island, made desperate appeals when the girls failed to get in touch after the explosion at the Ariana Grande concert which left 22 dead and at least 59 injured on Monday night.
Laura is now being treated in hospital for serious injuries but there have been no updates on Eilidh.
Both girls are pupils at Castlebay Community School and their headteacher said the incident has left everyone in shock.
Annag Maclean said: "The recent incident in Manchester was a planned and violent act targeted at young people enjoying a social event.
"Our school and island community are in shock, feeling numb and struggling to come to terms with it.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Eilidh and Laura, their family and friends as they struggle to cope.
"As headteacher, I am confident that our school and our community will continue to support Eilidh and Laura's families.
"I have worked with my colleagues in the authority and other agencies to ensure that all necessary support is available to staff and pupils.''
Barra has a population of about 1,000 and church groups have been rallying to offer support.
Catholic Bishop of Argyll and the Isles Brian McGee has travelled to the island to visit the families of Eilidh and Laura.
He said: "This is a time of terrible anguish for the MacLeod and MacIntyre families.
"Spending time with the relatives of both girls was a reminder of the human cost of acts of terror.
"Such acts leave families broken, lives scarred and innocence destroyed, my thoughts and prayers are with the families at this traumatic time.''
In the Scottish Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs that Police Scotland family liaison officers were providing support to the MacIntyre and MacLeod families.
Church of Scotland minister Rev Dr Lindsay Schluter said no-one on the island had been unaffected by the terrorist attack.
"People have been numbed by what has happened to the two girls and everybody continues to be very anxious about their welfare,'' the minister for Barra and South Uist said.
"People in the community have been very supportive of the families, deeply prayerfully so.
"As one person here has said, 'Manchester and its people are so much closer to Barra than anyone ever had realised'.''
Six other people were taken to hospitals in Scotland after returning home from the concert on Monday night.
Four of the patients were quickly discharged and two were kept in care overnight but their injuries are not life-threatening.