We lost a true Gael very suddenly on Thursday 4th January, and the death of John MacLeod, at just 66 years of age, is an enormous blow and his diligence and commitment to the Gaelic language and culture will be greatly missed.
However our first thoughts and condolences are with the close family which is left behind and where his widow Christine, son Calum, daughter Mairi and her husband Kevin, and John’s sisters and all their families, must attempt to adjust to this tragic loss in their midst. We wish them strength and solace.
John was an active supporter of Gaelic over many years, but when he retired from his post with Lothian and Borders Police in 2000 his involvement with Gaelic development increased dramatically. Among the many initiatives in which he engaged John was also Chairman of the National Gaelic Parents Association, a board member of Comunn na Gàidhlig, a member of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, and a board member of An Comunn Gàidhealach where he also served as President for ten years. When John stood down from that position at the Comunn Gaidhealach Annual General Meeting in early 2017 he described his term of office as an honour, and he said he was proud that the organisation was “in a strong position to support the development of our wonderful language; music and culture in the years to come.”
On behalf of An Comunn Gaidhealach I wish to re-state our appreciation and thanks for all that John did for this organisation and for Gaelic in general, and we were immensely proud that his enormous commitment was publicly acknowledged when he was awarded the honour of Sàr Ghàidheal (True Gael) at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s annual graduation ceremony in autumn 2017.
For me personally it was a privilege to have known John over nearly the past twenty five years, I wish eternal peace to a champion!
We understand that many will be looking for information regarding funeral service arrangements and we will publish this information as soon as we receive details from the family.
President – An Comunn Gaidhealach
I am very grateful to Professor Dòmhnall Meek for giving me the permission to share the poignant words he wrote when he heard of John’s death:
Thàinig naidheachd sa mhadainn
A thug bròn orm is smalan
Gun do leagadh an gaisgeach MacLeòid.
Mar chraobh chinnteach na daraich,
Sheas e làidir is daingeann
A’ toirt dùbhlan don ghaillinn ‘s e beò.
Fo gheugan bha fasgadh
Do gach neach a bha labhairt
Ann an cànan nan Gàidheal mar an còir;
Gu socrach ‘s gu gasda,
Anns an sgoil is an dachaigh,
Bheireadh Iain dhaibh taic agus treòir.
Ann an sràid a’ phrìomh bhaile
Bha a’ Ghàidhlig fo aire,
‘S e cur loinn agus mais’ air a seòl.
Mar cheannard bha snas air,
Gun àrdan, gun charachd,
Ach gu h-iriosal, tapaidh na dhòigh.
Gun fhiosda leagadh an darag
Le buille tuaighe bha aithghearr,
‘S chaidh ar grian is ar latha fo sgòth.
A Leòdaich uasail, a charaid,
Tha do bhàs-sa gar crathadh,
‘S tha naidheachd na maidne gar leòn.
Domhnall E Meek - 5.01.18