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Freeman of Skye and Lochalsh - honour for Dame Ellen (22/06/06)
Record-breaking round the world solo yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur was made a Freeman of Skye and Lochalsh at a ceremony held at Portree today (Thursday 22nd June, 2006).
Ellen’s great great grandfather was brought up at Luib and left Skye in the 1880s to settle in Derbyshire where the family have remained since and she is a regular visitor to the island.
She will join Dr Sorley MacLean, Dr John Ball and Mr David Noble as freemen of the area.
Dame Ellen said: “I was touched and felt incredibly privileged to have been honoured by the people of Skye and Lochalsh. Skye is a place very close to my heart, and is in fact the only real link with my family and the sea, as my ancestors were fishermen from Luib. I love Skye for its beauty and unique sense of freedom, But it's the people that make it such a special place."
Councillor Drew Millar, Ceannaire of the Council’s Skye and Lochalsh Area Committee, described Dame Ellen as an inspirational personality.
He joined her today when she spoke with pupils of Portree High School about her experiences and later presented her with a parchment bestowing upon her the honour of Freeman of Skye and Lochalsh.
He said: “In becoming the fastest person to sail solo non-stop around the world, Ellen registered the most significant of a number of firsts, records and achievements in her sailing career. She shared with pupils her experiences which I hope will inspire and motivate them to make the most of their talents and realise their ambitions.
“I have no doubts that Ellen will be a tremendous ambassador for Skye and Lochalsh, highlighting the quality and range of opportunities that are offered to sportsmen and women on the waters around Skye and Lochalsh.”