Tribute paid to Loch Gairloch canoe tragedy girl Grace Mackay


The family of a five-year-old girl who died following a canoeing accident which also claimed the lives of two young brothers have paid tribute to their “beautiful angel”.

Grace Mackay lost her fight for life yesterday after Sunday's incident in the Highlands.

The primary two pupil from Muir of Ord, near Inverness, was one of six people in the boat that overturned in Loch Gairloch by Ullapool.

Ewen Beaton, 32, is missing, presumed drowned. His sons Jamie, two, and five-year-old Ewen, died after being airlifted to hospital.

Grace's father and her eight-year-old sister Callie managed to swim 550 yards to the shore and raise the alarm.

"Grace was a funny, caring, thoughtful daughter and granddaughter, full of life who loved animals and being outdoors," her family said in a statement.

"She adored her family and was our beautiful angel. We are devastated by the loss of our best friend."

The youngster's headteacher also paid tribute to the Tarradale primary pupil.

Tracy Sinclair said Grace was a "happy, thoughtful little girl who was popular and well-liked by everybody".

She said: "This has come as a shock to the whole school community and we are all deeply saddened."

Stornoway coastguard was alerted to the incident at about 4.15pm on Sunday after Callie and Grace's father, named locally as Garry, made it to the shoreline.

A coastguard team, together with two police dogs and their handlers, have been searching a stretch of shoreline for the body of Mr Beaton after large-scale water and air searches were stepped down last night.