Highlands & Islands

Lewis leisure centre campaigners continue Sunday opening fight

Swimmer Image copyright Thinkstock

Campaigners for a leisure centre on the Isle of Lewis to open on Sundays have vowed to fight on despite their offer of funding being turned down.

Families into Sports for Health (FiSH) raised £11,400 to fund a trial opening of the sports centre and swimming pool.

But Western Isles Council - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - rejected the offer and said it would not hold a trial.

Leisure centres on Lewis and Harris have been traditionally closed on Sundays in observation of the Sabbath.

Campaigner Lesley McKenzie said hundreds of families wanted the facilities in Stornoway to be available all week.

Similar sites in other parts of the Western Isles run by the comhairle, including on Benbecula, are open on Sundays.

The local authority said it had taken a "democratic decision" not to open on Sundays and its councillors were best placed to decide on local demand for a service.

It said the decision not to open on Sundays was not only for Sabbatarian reasons.

But Mrs McKenzie said: "Over 1,500 families in the Western Isles will be disappointed at this response.

"We want the sport centre to be open on Sundays and we will do what we need to do to help make that happen."

Stornoway Free Church minister the Reverend James Maciver said there were families who preferred to have Sunday as a day of rest after being busy in the week with activities, including sports-related pursuits such as swimming.

He said: "It is not really a health issue as far as we are concerned. There are plenty of facilities without these extra hours on a Sunday."

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