Tributes are being paid to Michaela Smith of Sheshader, Point, who passed away on Friday (December 6th) at Western General hospital in Edinburgh, at the age of 53.

Michaela was a home care co-ordinator at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and was also known to many through her active contribution to Stornoway Thespians and her artistic skills, put to good use bringing joy to many youngsters with face-painting at shows and events.

One of her sons posted a moving tribute to his mother on social media, saying: “A great many of you knew and loved my mum, and are just as stricken by the loss as we are, however it goes without saying that we will not remember her for how she died, we will remember her for how she lived; A kind, loving soul, with five grateful children, a loving husband, and a personality larger than life.

“Many of you have already reached out with support and condolences, and we are grateful, we'd like to say if you are considering sending flowers or any other kind of commiseration gift to our family, please instead donate to a charity close to your heart, as cheesy as it sounds, my mum wouldn't have it any other way.”

Among those adding their memories of Michaela, many described her compassionate, warm-hearted personality and zest for life. One said: “Michaela was larger than life, always full of fun. A huge loss not just for her family but for the community at large and all who knew her.”

A spokesperson for Maybury Gardens said on Saturday: “We are so sorry to have heard this very sad news this morning. Michaela was a very talented lady and she had been involved at our Christmas lights switch events for many years creating her wonderful face paints on so many children. She will be greatly missed by our community, our thoughts are with her family at this very sad time.”

Stornoway Thespians cancelled last week’s pantomime, in which she and her family were to play a key part, as a mark of respect after she was taken ill. They said on Saturday that the company’s thoughts were with the family.

There is to be no funeral and the family have asked that their privacy should be respected.

The pictures show Michaela Smith at the Maybury Gardens Christmas lights switch-on November 21st.