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Exceptionally talented musician from Tiree named as SMO Student of the Year

Eilidh MacFadyen, who is studying for her BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music, has been named as undergraduate Student of the Year at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI.

Born and raised on the Isle of Tiree, Eilidh has been a student at SMO for three years, where she is an exemplary ambassador for both the College and her course.

Eilidh is an extremely talented musician and since enrolling at the College, has won silver and gold medals at the Royal National Mods in the under 19 accordion competitions.  For a number of years now, Eilidh has also been a tutor at Fèis Thiriodh, passing on her musical knowledge and experience to a younger generation.  Eilidh is always enthusiastic and demonstrates natural leadership qualities, inspiring others to become involved.  For example, she was very much involved in the events programme for the 40th anniversary of the College last year and acted as pipe major for the SMO pipe band when they played at the Foundation Day.  Eilidh also organises sporting events for other students and even helps as a volunteer at Fàs Mòr, the childcare facility based at the College, at lunchtime or after classes, where she is adored by the children.

John N. MacLeod, Director of Studies, said: “Eilidh is particularly deserving of this award, given in recognition of her outstanding personal and academic achievements but also her sterling and unselfish work on behalf of the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig student community.  She is a great ambassador for the College, UHI and her local community.”    

Eilidh is active in all aspects of College life and in the local Sleat community.  She is a very active member of the SMO Student Association and works tirelessly in organising social activities and events within SMO and further afield.  Eilidh is a founder member of the SMO student drama group which competed at the 2013 National Mod in Paisley and performed recently in Glasgow as part of the Ceòl is Craic event.  In the past year alone, Eilidh has contributed to the Fèill Ghàidhlig, Healthy Happy You week and Sports Relief.  As part of the SMO@40 celebrations, Eilidh played at Celtic Connections and other events, receptions at Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament and also at the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig student reunion. 

Dr Decker Forrest, BA (Hons) Gaelic and Traditional Music course leader, said: “Eilidh’s dedication to learning and helping others is exemplary and, of course, her talent and enthusiasm for music has brought much pride to her university and home-community in Tiree.  Eilidh, who was brought up on a large, busy croft, has displayed an outstanding work-ethic which she applies to anything and everything she sets her mind to.  I doubt I have ever taught a more deserving recipient of this award than her.”

Eilidh commented on her award, saying:  “I am delighted to be named Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s Student of the Year.  I wasn’t expecting it at all and it makes me very proud indeed to think that SMO staff thought me worthy of it.  My time so far at SMO has been absolutely fantastic and I’m looking forward to another year!”

At the start of her fourth and final year at SMO, Eilidh has elected, and has been accepted, to undertake her overseas exchange placement at the World Music Centre, University of Limerick.

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