25th September 2018
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Review of the Year – June: Relay for Life events breaks all records

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It was revealed senior council officials feared for their jobs if the Accounts Commission decided to impose an entirely new man­agement team on the crisis-laden local authority following its much-anticipated probe.

But the commission moved to allay fears, stating it would not blame individuals, although the hearing would be held in public. Leaving the isles – for the meantime – was Shetland-based shuttle tanker Loch Rannoch, which was taken to the Gulf of Mexico to help in the clear-up operation following the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

NHS Shetland admitted it would lose eight jobs over the coming year as part of a nation-wide squeeze on budgets. Chief executive Sandra Laurenson said there would be no compulsory redundancies, insisting many of the posts due to go were for staff coming to the end of their fixed terms. At the same time many new jobs would be advertised.

New figures revealed a Whalsay tunnel would cost £84 million and take nine years to plan and complete. The news followed months of wild speculation over the project’s price and timescale.

Shetland’s Relay for Life in aid of cancer research raised an impressive £160,000, beating the previous record by £40,000.

In total 133 teams took part, wearing fancy dress and brightly coloured costumes as they walked round the Clickimin sports track.

Meanwhile father and son Phil and Paul Hibbert prepared to cycle coast to coast across the Pyrenees to raise money for Vision Shetland.

The planning department landed in hot water again, this time over the destruction of Lizzie’s Lodestar, or old Harbour Cafe. The old hut had been a local institution, but while permission for its demolition was granted, conservation consent was not.

At least the fiasco concerning imported rock for Total’s approach road to its new gas plant reached a conclusion. With an environmental assessment completed, Total was free to use locally mined rock instead.

The fish factory in Whalsay was given a four month reprieve to turn round its dwindling fortunes – although, as time would tell, all hopes of a recovery would ultimately be dashed.

The council needed to fight for new oil business at Sullom Voe from companies gearing up to tap huge oil and gas fields west of Shetland.

An imposing structure came to Lerwick Harbour. The massive accommodation barge Bibby Chal­lenge arrived in the isles, providing a home from home for Sullom Voe workers.

Viking Energy was allowed to keep its test masts on a Tresta hilltop for another three years, despite an objection. Sustainable Shetland’s chairman, Billy Fox, had argued planning board members could not make a fair judgement on the application because they also sit on Shetland Charitable Trust which owns part of the windfarm com­pany.

The three dancers off to Delhi to take part in the hand-over ceremony at the Commonwealth Games were named as Kathryn Spence, Heather Gordon and James Watt.

A nasty virus onboard the Hjaltland led to the ferry being taken out of service for 48 hours. Passengers complained of sickness and diarrhoea. Lerwick councillor Caroline Miller said she was relieved to have been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Standards Commission, follow­ing an allegation she had used her position at the SIC to seek preferen­tial treatment for her family’s firm Judane.

South Mainland councillor Al­lison Duncan called for a radical rethink of ferry services, with the possible privatisation of some routes.

Record numbers of people turned out to see the Shetland Classic Motor Show at the Clickimin, which featured a host of steam-powered engines as its main attraction.

Would-be anti-war campaigners were urged to join together in a local branch of a UK-wide coalition aimed at putting an end to unpopular conflicts.

Aly Bain handed a petition against tuition fees for music lessons to services committee chairman Gussie Angus, as the council agreed to review the unpopular proposal.

The threat of school closures had been lingering in the background for some time. Now it finally emerged Scalloway Junior High School was in the firing line for possible closure along with the Skerries secondary department and five primaries: Burravoe, North Roe, Olnafirth, Sandness and Uyeasound.

As The Shetland Times reported, parents in Burravoe were largely resigned to having to take their fight to the Scottish education minister.

Wheelie bins were gaining in popularity, giving increasing evi­dence the council was at least doing something right at street-level.

Shetland’s golden anniversary Hamefarin was launched in style, marking the start of a two-week adventure for almost 600 hamefarers from across the globe.

Twenty-one options were ident­ified which could cut costs on NorthLink vessels as a direct alter­native to extending journey times through reduced power – but the Scottish government was remaining tight-lipped about exactly what those options were.

As World Cup fever gripped the nation, Burra man John James Jamieson flew a different nation’s flag outside his house for every match day.

Whalsay woman Eleanor Arthur was appointed chairwoman of the Scottish Crofting Federation.

Malcolm Bell was appointed to Shetland NHS Board for a four-year period.

It emerged the banks were willing to pay 80 per cent of the Viking Energy windfarm, leaving the charitable trust to find £72 million from its own funds or loans.

After months of uncertainty, Orkney Islands Council chief executive Alistair Buchan was named as the new head of the SIC.

Fair Isle’s new bird observatory finally opened, but questions were still being asked about money owed to residents and small businesses following the collapse of contractor Andrew H Wilson Electrical of Orkney.

Alistair Carmichael had to defend an unpopular VAT hike from January, which threatened to cancel the benefits of any fuel rebate which might be offered by the new government.

There was a whole weekend of festivals, featuring Flavour of Shetland, the Midsummer Carnival, the bikers rally and Armed Forces Day ceremony. Yachts battled for space at Lerwick Harbour as competitors in the Shetland Round Britain and Ireland Race met up with those in the Bergen races – mild damage was caused to some following a blustery night.

Talented Nesting youngster Cam­­­eron Gibbs, 14, started making plans to move to the mainland to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer with Aber­deen.

Staying on the pitch, senior foot­ball’s first cup final of the season saw Delting battle it out with Spurs for the Madrid Cup – a single goal would make Spurs the winning team.

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