Dr Duncan Maclennan

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Dr Duncan Maclennan served as the doctor in West Uig from 1935 to 1945. A native of Stornoway, he studied at Aberdeen and Uig was his first post. He was greatly liked throughout the district, as this piece from the Stornoway Gazette on the occasion of his leaving demonstrates:

20 July 1945

On Tuesday, 3rd July, in Crowlista School, Dr and Mrs Maclennan were met by a large company of friends who had gathered to present them with a token of appreciation of Dr Maclennan’s professional services in the parish since 1935. Rev Norman Morrison was called upon to preside. He spoke with regret about the impending departure of Dr Maclennan, who had put in ten years of arduous work in the face of many difficulties in a wide and scattered district. Being young and energetic, Dr Maclennan never spared himself, and he was always promptly on the spot when his services were required. Although the people of Uig were sorry to lose him, Mr Morrison said that it was the sincere wish of everyone that Dr Maclennan would be happy in his new sphere of labour. Mr Maciver, the headmaster of Lochcroistean School, referred in glowing terms to Dr Maclennan’s capabilities. He was always promptly at his post when needed, and he carried away with him blessing from every home in which he brough succour in times of need.

Cpl Kye, RAF, said that Dr Maclennan was regarded not only as a medical adviser but as a friend, and he was very glad to get the opportunity to wish him luck in the name of the boys at the camp. Cpl Hutcheson, medical orderly, RAF, spoke about his long association with Dr Maclennan, and of the speed and willingness with which he covered the twelve miles to Brenish when required to do so. Mr Peter Macdonald, Crowlista, told of the regret felt by everybody in the community when it became known that Dr Maclennan was leaving to take up work on the mainland. He said that the good wishes of young and old would follow him to his new home. Mr Ian Macdonald, Miavaig Post Office, said that he had been doing business with Dr Maclennan for many years and he was one of the best neighbours that any man could wish to have. Mrs Maciver, Ardroil, spoke feelingly of the relief which the doctor brought in time of trouble, and she thanked him for his attentiveness and kindness during many years of illness in her home.

The Chairman then called on Mrs Sutherland, the headmistress of Crowlista School, to hand over to Dr Maclennan a wallet of Treasury notes from all the townships in the parish. She did this, wishing him all success and happiness in the future. In a speech of thanks, Dr Maclennan said that he and his wife would never forget the kindness of the people of Uig, and he expressed the intention to come back sometime again to see their friends. A splendid tea was then served to all present. Mrs Sutherland, and other local ladies, had prepared a magnificent spread such as is seldom seen in war-time, and everybody enjoyed the good things provided. The meeting was closed with prayer by the Chairman.

Dr Maclennan is still warmly remembered in Uig, as one who came very quickly when called and, though kind and efficient, would never hang about for a cup of tea. It was he who identified the outbreak of diphtheria in Geshader in 1939, in the face of official scepticism – saving the life of Finlay Maciver, and probably others.

After leaving Uig, Dr and Mrs Maclennan went to Dufftown, where they became very prominent members of the community. In addition running his practice, giving exceptional support to his patients during hard winters, establishing two cottage hospitals, one for long-term patients and one including maternity facilities, and raising three sons (David, Christopher and Robin) Dr Maclennan was a founder of the Dufftown Pipe Band and became Hon President of Dufftown Golf Club. He joined the town council in 1947, becoming Dean of Guild, Housing Convenor, Senior Bailie and finally Provost in 1969. He retired in 1971 and died on 14 April 1975 at the age of 63.

The picture below shows the doctor with the staff of the Stephen Cottage Hospital in Dufftown in 1953. Many thanks to the family for the photos and information.

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