Fancy becoming a Friend of Seallam!?
Would you like to help ensure that Bill and Chris Lawson’s lifetime of work is preserved for future generations?
If so, how about becoming a ‘Friend of Seallam!’, preserving the genealogical history of the Outer Hebrides from Lewis to Barra, giving today’s youngsters access to and an interest in their own history.
“I know people may think that I am making a great amount of money, but the reality is that Chris and I gave the whole business away to Northton Heritage Trust nearly over 20 years ago,” said Bill.
“I have been running it since and the only thing I get out of it is that it keeps me interested. I haven’t made a penny out of genealogy or Seallam! in the last 20 years. Everything has gone into Northton Heritage Trust. I make money on my books, but that’s it.”
According to Bill, ‘Friends of Seallam!’ is a way of ‘trying to get to people who are not just interested in their own particular genealogy or coming to the centre here but who are keen to help promote the study of genealogy and preservation of the records that are available here at Seallam!”
“It’s OK for the people who come here, because we can speak to them. But we are trying to find a system where we can spread the word around that there is this facility, it does need a bit of helping, and I am sure that there are people who if they knew, would be willing to help,” he said.
So how does ‘Friends of Seallam!’ work?
For £50, you would get an annual membership of Seallam!, and receive a formal certificate and an annual newsletter.
For £200, you would become a Life Member of Seallam!
“What you get for becoming a Friend of Seallam! is a good feeling. That is important, to have that good feeling that you have been helpful,” said Bill.
“By signing up you have helped in preserving something which would otherwise fizzle out and eventually disappear.
“We put videos onto our Facebook page each week, and they are quirky, and some might say a bit silly, but would it not be a great shame if all these stories were lost? I think it would.”
Bill added: “Chris and I put a lot of money and effort into this – I put my lifetime into it, and I am getting old. I can’t keep going forever. This has to become less reliant on me. We need to train other people. The records are all here, we just need to employ someone on a decent salary to come and work with them and archive them. A centre like this makes enough money to maintain the building and premises and maybe pay one salary. Beyond that it can’t do much more.
“We are living in a remote place, and realistically, we need enough of a bank balance to be able to be able to fund at least another person so that one could concentrate on running the business and the other on genealogy.
“For years Chris did one and I did the other.”
Seallam! Visitor Centre is currently managed by Stephen Mackinnon, a native of Leverburgh.
Become a Friend of Seallam! by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 01859 520 258.
To donate to the work of Seallam!, please click below. All contributions are most appreciated!