Rosalind Griffiths – The Shetland Times Shetland News, Sport, Jobs, Properties, Shop Fri, 23 Feb 2018 20:36:45 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Rip-roaring stuff as Pan and his pirates bring famous tale to life in the Garrison Sun, 10 Dec 2017 14:39:58 +0000

Captain Hook (John Haswell) is put to the sword by Peter Pan (Hermione Boyes). Photo: Jonathon Bulter

This year’s Open Door’s panto Peter Pan at the Garrison Theatre was a great rip-roaring production with a large, mostly young, but well-drilled cast who really got the audience going.

A rather demure start saw the three Darling children in bed, but things quickly became much more colourful and exciting.

The elfin Peter Pan (Hermione Boyes) whisked the three away amid a beautiful dark backdrop of stars and smoke – there was lots of smoke throughout – and later Pan sang a touching duet with eldest child Wendy (Grace Anderson).

The action proceeded at a cracking pace with plenty of dance and song, and followed the framework of JM Barrie’s book closely.

There were the Lost Boys, who performed a splendid dance with clashing sticks, and exotic mermaids preening themselves on a desert island against a warm green backdrop. The theme tune of Desert Island Discs was played by the live band (Carol Jamieson, David Marsh and Siobhan McGregor), whose choice of music and immaculate timing greatly enhanced the show.

And, of course, the pirates. John Haswell, resplendent in red and gold, with black curls topped with a black hat dazzled as Captain Hook, while his pirate horde were colourful and dastardly.

No panto would be complete without a cross-dressing dame, and Robert Lowes as Big Jessie (definitely not in the book) was a stand-out presence throughout, delivering some of the panto’s required jokes in a great booming voice.

How was she to know Loganair did not fly to Neverland, she asked, and when her son Jimmy (Lynsey Rendall) fell in love with a mermaid, she warned him not to take her to Frankie’s for a first date or “she’ll end up battered”.

And when she heard pirates were around: “Things are looking up.”

Hook was humorous too: “What’s that on your feet?” he asked his sidekick Smee (Iain Souter) and was horrified to be told they were Crocs.

And yes, the crocodile did show his ugly face from time to time through the side door of the stage, his menacing tick-tock a reminder of the dark deeds to come.

Peter Pan (Hermione Boyes) and Wendy (Grace Anderson). Photo: Jonathon Bulter

The second half of the panto got wilder and wackier, with uninhibited female warriors yelling “death to all pirates”, vowing to protect the Lost Boys while Jessie offered to be their mother.

Wendy wanted to go home and Peter decided never to grow up. But he nearly lost his life when Hook substituted poison for medicine, with the audience yelling at him not to drink it.

Brave Tinkerbell, stunning in neon lights, took it instead, leading to the audience shouting they believed in fairies to bring her round.

A hilarious moment came when Hook lost his wig, and more audience comment when he announced he was “drop dead gorgeous”…

“In your dreams,” shouted a young voice.

Action reached fever pitch on the pirate ship when the Lost Boys were captured and Wendy was tied to the mast. The gun and cutlass-toting pirates had fun with a barrel of rum and brought out their cannon, “Big Graeme”. And the young audience volunteers who walked the plank (wearing SIC regulation rubber rings) caused great hilarity.

Hook, of course, eventually ended up in the crocodile’s jaws and Jessie, bedecked in purple, finally got Smee to marry her – either that or get his throat cut “a difficult decision”, he said, with his knees knocking.

The whole panto was a delight, with atmospheric lighting and almost seamless and quite complex scene changes, ending with a rousing Christmas song to send the audience home smiling.

Congratulations to director Izzy Swanson and the team for a hugely enjoyable production.

By Rosalind Griffiths

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Great turnout for opening of eighth annual wool week Mon, 25 Sep 2017 10:44:26 +0000

Participants raising a glass to this year’s event. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Shetland Wool Week was launched with great gusto last night with around 350 enthusiasts, many sporting this year’s signature woolly hat, cramming into the Clickimin Bowls Hall.

The event, now in its eighth year, attracted visitors from all over the world including Australia, New Zealand, USA and Japan as well as Europe and the UK.

With more than 500 memberships sold and around 700 expected to attend the week’s classes, talks and tours, this wool week could be the biggest and best yet.

Patron Gudrun Johnston told the launch event guests that she was honoured to have the prestigious role of patron. Born in Shetland, she lived in the isles until the age of five and is now based in the US, but “Shetland is a huge part of who I am”.

Some of her designs from her business The Shetland Trader were featured in the evening’s fashion show, organised by Faye Hackers of Shetland College.

Six other designers’ work was also modelled, to a musical accompaniment by Vair, with innovative creations such as a kimono and a lace garment for men delighting the audience.

Patron of this year’s event Gudrun Johnston. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Designer Andy Ross of GlobalYell made an impassioned plea for funding to promote the future of weaving in the isles. Shetland tweed was once an important product, he said, and could be so again.

The week’s events started on Saturday and many visitors had already been to classes. US visitor Karen Clerke from Missouri said the dyeing workshop she attended was “amazing” and she had tackled a new skill of felting.

Fellow US visitor Susan Rittenhouse from California, on a bus tour to the North Isles, was just delighted to see sheep wandering all over the road.
Tours across Shetland, from Unst to Fair Isle, and classes ranging from silversmithing to knitting a bangle, making a rug or felted bag will continue all week.

• More stories and photos in The Shetland Times on Friday.

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Warning as Unst B&B man is ripped off by scammers Sun, 11 Jun 2017 08:32:10 +0000 A pensioner who was scammed out of thousands of pounds feels so embarrassed he has put off telling his children about his misfortune.

Sheil Khanna, 76, from Unst, has lost more than £3,000 due, he said, to his naivety. But he also blames his bank for their unhelpful attitude and the scammers, who purported to come from Florida.

He wants to warn others not to fall into the same trap.

Mr Khanna built his new house in Westing, Unst, four years ago and later decided to start a small B&B business as a hobby and to meet people. It is not, he said, a “fully fledged” business, but something he operates on a small scale and markets through Visit Scotland in Lerwick.

Recently he received an unusual email from people in “Florida” requesting hospitality in his B&B. They said their expenses would be covered by their company, St Saviour’s Roman Catholic School in Lewisham, London. When Mr Khanna asked for a “small deposit”, the scammers sent a cheque for £4,100 and told Mr Khanna to take what he would be owed and put the remainder back into their bank.

Mr Khanna, whose wife is Roman Catholic, was reassured by the religious connection, and he said: “I thought it was legitimate. I paid the cheque into the bank and it cleared. I paid £3,100 back to the ‘guests’. I was told later that the cheque had bounced.”

This left Mr Khanna out of pocket to the tune of £3,100, with the Bank of Scotland saying there is nothing they can do.

Mr Khanna paid the cheque, which was signed by two signatories, into his account on 4th April. This was done in the mobile Bank of Scotland which comes to Unst.

He rang the bank on Monday 10th and was told the cheque had cleared. He went into Lerwick’s Bank of Scotland on 20th April, 10 days later, and initiated the transfer of £3,100 into the scam account. Once again he was told the cheque had cleared. Days later he got a letter, dated 10th April, from the Bank of Scotland, saying the cheque had been stopped. The letter contained a photocopy of the bounced cheque which had the words “theft recorded” on it.

Mr Khanna said: “The letter was dated 10th April, the same day they told me the cheque cleared.”

He now said he would never be so “naive and trusting” again, and described himself as “old fashioned”. And, he said, he thought that when the bank said the cheque had cleared “they meant it”.

He added: “You’re always wise after the event. Maybe alarm bells should have rung. Now I’m sitting here £3,100 out of pocket and the Bank of Scotland has washed their hands of it. They say it is not their responsibility. I’ve worked hard all my life and to lose £3,100 is a very hard loss. The bank has let me down.”

Now Mr Khanna has written to the Bank of Scotland’s senior manager in Edinburgh and is prepared to take the incident to the financial ombudsman if the affair cannot be settled. Fortunately he has kept all his receipts and correspondence.

He said that most of all he feels “embarrassed” about the events, and cannot even face his children to tell them. He added: “I would hate any other people to become victims.”

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Good news for Bressay with former school redeveloped Sat, 20 May 2017 10:40:41 +0000

The cafe staff (from left): Rozanne Tulloch, Anne Bateson, Susan Manson, Erin Lowe and Beatrice Lowe. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Bressay’s fortunes are very much on the up with the transformation of the former primary school into a community hub and the Speldiburn Cafe, officially opened yesterday by MSP Tavish Scott.

The spacious school building, which once had 55 pupils, closed in 2014.

MSP Tavish Scott at the opening. Photo: Dave Donaldson

It now houses a good-as-new shop, a library, an art and craft studio, a recycling facility and rooms for workshops, classes and Bressay’s under-5s, as well as the all-important cafe.

The achievement is thanks to the determination of Bressay Development Ltd, whose members could not bear to see the place stand empty.

Mr Scott, once a pupil at the school, said it was “a really important day for the community”. It showed the resilience of the locals and marked the island “moving forward in a positive way”.

Losing the school had had a “major impact”, Mr Scott said, but the “wonderful effort” that had gone into the creation of the new resource had been a “fantastic achievement”.

The official opening is part of a three-day celebraton of what has been achieved since Bressay Development Ltd took over the lease from the council in November 2015. The cafe was open on a trial basis last summer and kept going two days a week in the winter.

The packed cafe at the opening. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Chairwoman Hazel Anderson said: “The hope was we would create something worthwhile for the community, and we’re quite satisfied we’ve reached a point where we can have a celebration.”

Since 2015 the achievements include recruitment of a development officer, creation of a community office and exhibition spaces, besides all the other facilities.

Mrs Anderson said they couldn’t do it without continuing volunteer support, and added that more volunteers were always needed.

Vice-chairwoman Robina Barton said: “When we lost the school it could potentially have been the end of the story. We managed to turn it into something useful for the community, it’s a nice social place and a focal point for the community.”

Ms Bartson said that the project would be working in partnership with the hall, the lighthouse and the newly reopened Maryfield House Hotel.

Development officer Sharon Anderson said: “When the school closed it was a big blow to the community. We wanted to see something happening to the building. It was a huge thing to take on.”

The artists’ studios. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The cafe, housed in the former canteen, in particular had “gone really well”, Ms Anderson said, with soup, hot meals and snacks in the winter and quiches and soup in the summer. It had become a social place for locals and visitors as well as an eatery.

The good as new shop in the former music room, offering “everything you can imagine” from jewellery to furniture, opened in February. Ms Anderson said: “I never thought it would be so busy, it’s completely taken off.”

Development officer Sharon Anderson. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The profits would go into running costs for the building and night classes, she said.

Classes, workshops and taster sessions in subjects such as yoga, gardening and composting have taken place, and more are planned. Future plans could include furniture upcycling and IT, and Ms Anderson said: “We’re open to all suggestions.”

Additionally, funding is in place to purchase bikes to hire to tourists, which will be another positive development for the isle.

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WATCH: Sheepdog Nan lifted to safety by coastguard after Unst cliff plunge Wed, 17 May 2017 15:52:07 +0000

Willie and Belle Spence and Nan with the coastguard team. Jordan Johnson is second from the left. Photo: Dave Sweeney

Shetland Coastguard officers abseiled down a 90-foot cliff bank in Unst – to rescue a sheepdog that had plunged over the edge.
The two-year-old animal, Nan, survived the fall on Tuesday and was none the worse for her adventure after being lifted to safety.

She was brought back to the top by crew members who had to perform a rope rescue, abseiling down the banks at the Nev near Clibberswick to retrieve her.

Coastguard man Jordan Johnson was lowered over the cliff to rescue Nan.

The Baltasound Coastguard rescue team received the call at about 4pm.

Owner Willie Spence and his wife Belle had been out for a walk when Nan saw a rabbit and chased after it.

Belle said that Nan, who she described as “very playful and friendly” became excited and ran straight over the banks.

After realising what was about to happen Willie “couldn’t get his whistle out fast enough” but it was too late to stop Nan going over the sheer drop.

Belle, who is known to many as the organiser of the Shetland Relay for Life, said: “We had a job seeing her because she was in a long narrow geo. We went one each side. She went into the water and swam on to a rock, then went back under the cliff. It looked as if she wasn’t injured, but she was howling. It was heartbreaking.”

She said it would not have been safe to attempt to rescue Nan themselves. “We were devastated. We didn’t know how on earth we’d get her out. It was awful.”

Willie and Belle tried to keep Nan calm by shouting and talking to her.

Fortunately, Belle had two mobile phones with her, having just bought a new one, and was able to raise the alarm.

The cliff rescue team was assembled with crew members from various locations in Shetland. They used the episode as a training exercise but managed to lift Nan to the surface unharmed.

Rope rescue technician Jordan Johnson went over the cliff edge to approximately 30 metres down to make the rescue.

Belle said: “It took six hours in total but we got a good insight into a cliff rescue using a pulley and ropes.”



Nan was coaxed into a basket and after she was hauled back up Belle said: “She was just delighted and seemed to go to all the men to thank them.

“We can’t thank the coastguard enough”.

Willie said he was overwhelmed to be reunited with his beloved dog which was given to him as a retirement present. He is training Nan to be a sheepdog.

Senior coastguard operations officer Dave Sweeney praised the rescue team for conducting a “textbook rope rescue”.

“While rope rescue incidents are not common in Shetland, coastguard rescue teams around Shetland are trained to deal with such incidents, providing the local community with a vital emergency response,” he added.

Video and photos taken by Dave Sweeney.

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Buoy commemorates isles long-running pelagic industry Sat, 08 Oct 2016 13:19:16 +0000 A large crowd turned out for the unveiling of Da Lightsome Buoy. Photo: Dave Donaldson

A large crowd turned out for the unveiling of Da Lightsome Buoy. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The sun shone on Da Lightsome Buoy as it was unveiled on the south end of the Esplanade in Lerwick this morning.

The bronze sculpture, created by artist Jo Chapman to celebrate the pelagic industry, elicited universal approval from the invited guests who saw it for the first time.

Callum Irvine (left), the youngest pelagic fisherman from the Zephyr, and retired herring gutter Rosabelle Halcrow get ready to unveil the sculpture. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Callum Irvine (left), the youngest pelagic fisherman from the Zephyr, and retired herring gutter Rosabelle Halcrow get ready to unveil the sculpture. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Engraved with images of fisherfolk and studded with quotes from the community, the huge spherical structure proved irresistably tactile and created a lightsome feel.

The sculpture was commissioned to convey the continuity of the pelagic industry, the hardworking past, present and hopefully bright future, mirrored by the old Swan and modern Adenia dressed overall in the harbour.

The project stemmed from an idea of Shetland Catch chairman John Goodlad, who was also the chairman of the partnership project. He gave the event’s opening speech, recalling the proud history of the industry over the last 200 years and its heyday in the early 20th century.

In 1905, Mr Goodlad said, 113,000 tonnes of herring was landed in Shetland, a record which still stands. There were 100 curing stations in the isles creating work for thousands of people.
Sail gave way to steam and later the modern industry, with one of the most modern pelagic fleets in the world.

Some of the detail on the sculpture. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Some of the detail on the sculpture. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Chief executive of Lerwick Port Authority Sandra Laurenson praised the “tremendous creativity” of Ms Chapman’s work, and the partnership with made it possible.

Guests of honour were young pelagic fisherman Callum Irvine, a deckhand on the Whalsay trawler Zephyr, who said he was “surprised and honoured” to be asked to the unveiling, and former gutting girl Rosabelle Halcrow.

Mrs Halcrow said: “I’m the oldest one [gutting girl] left in Burra. A crowd of us would work in Lerwick and Lowestoft. We didn’t worry about the work, the camaraderie and company were good, it was cheery work.”

She too had been honoured to be asked. The sculpture was dedicated by Aubrey Jamieson, who described the finished article as “stunning”.

Artist Jo Chapman with her impressive design. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Artist Jo Chapman with her impressive design. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The whole project was co-ordinated by Clair Aldington, who said she was delighted with the end result: “It’s been part of my life for the last six years since the idea first came from John Goodlad.”

Ms Chapman said she was “relieved” her work was finished and was so well received. Making it, she said, had been a “fantastic opportunity” and she had had a “wonderful time” in Shetland.

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Fringe slot for Marjolein Wed, 27 Apr 2016 17:43:31 +0000 Local stand-up comic Marjolein Robertson has secured a long-held ambition – getting a show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

She will perform at the Opium bar in the city’s Cowgate between 6th to 16th August, and invites anyone around the capital at that time to “come see the show and then drink red cans with me”.

Marjolein only applied for her slot at the end of January – which was when the draft for the show should have been in. However her application was accepted, and she said: “Here I go, years of wanting to and now finally going for it. I’m excited and nervous and trying to write observational comedy relevant to the mainland.”

Marjolein will bill herself as the “Second Most Northerly Comedian in the UK”. The most northerly will be Unst-based Les Sinclair, who has a slot himself.

Her writing strategy will involve “sitting with a bottle till I get it written. I’ll try and write coherently in one sitting and tell a story”.

Marjolein, who has performed stand-up in Amsterdam and New York, has fortunately never been heckled, and said that having an early evening slot of 5.30pm to 6.30pm in Edinburgh might make this less likely to happen.

She said: “People see me as a cute lass from a small island,” and added: “You get negative stand-ups and ones full of the joy of life, and they are less likely to get heckled.”

Marjolein’s show is part of the PBH Free Fringe which promotes free shows.

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Obesity, poverty, and European views Fri, 22 Apr 2016 06:30:28 +0000 • The notion Shetland is a classless society has been laid to rest in a far-reaching report.

• NHS “horrified” by obesity figures.

• Enterprising Regazza girls scoop award.

• Hydrogen powered cars could be a step closer to reality.

• Standards investigation against Alistair Carmichael dropped.

• Follow two more of Shetland’s Holyrood election candidates.

• See our feature on gardening and outdoor DIY.

• And extensive arts and entertainment coverage.

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Drugs service continuing successfully, says community health chief Wed, 20 Apr 2016 15:15:05 +0000 The work of the former CADSS support service for people with drug and alcohol problems is continuing successfully,  according to head of community health and social care Simon Bokor-Ingram.

He told a meeting of the board of NHS Shetland on Tuesday that there were three elements which were all being covered. The needle exchange had seen a small increase in numbers, which he said was “reassuring”, and the “first point of contact” at the Salvation Army premises on Monday afternoons was being used.

Funding had been acquired for a young person’s service, now being put into place.

Mr Bokor-Ingram said there could be a possibility of getting another recovery worker or young person’s worker, if needed, and work with Dogs Against Drugs and the Community Bike Project, which are funded from the drug and alcohol funding, is continuing.

He said: “We will be spending over £700,000 on drug and alcohol services this year. We buy 12 places a year for adults who are recovering from addiction issues from the Community Bike Project. The participants learn employability skills.

“The project has an excellent success rate, re-enabling people back into employment.”

He said he was seeking feedback on the provision, and added: “I’m confident we have a robust service. All parts of the service are in place.”

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Red letter day for young team behind colouring book enterprise Wed, 20 Apr 2016 13:44:10 +0000 The annual Young Enterprise Scotland Shetland area final was held at the Shetland Museum last night with two competing companies, Ragazza and Trowaid, both from the Anderson High School.

Winners of this year's Young Enterprise Shetland Awards "Regazza" receive their award from Geoff Leask, chief executive of Young Enterprise Scotland. From left Dana Watt, Kirsten Isbister, Megan Leslie, Geoff Leask,Gillian Sinclair, Sophie Kennerley and Sophie Moar. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Winners of this year’s Young Enterprise Shetland Awards “Regazza” receive their award from Young Enterprise Scotland chief executive Geoff Leask. From left Dana Watt, Kirsten Isbister, Megan Leslie, Mr Leask,Gillian Sinclair, Sophie Kennerley and Sophie Moar. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The all-girl company Ragazza was declared the winner, and will now go forward to represent Shetland in the Scottish Final in June.

Winning company Ragazza, comprising S6 pupils, produced a Shetland-themed colouring book for adults.

This has sold very well locally and been a popular gift for sending abroad, reaching as far as the Philippines. Ragazza decided to have the book produced locally to ensure a quality product and a firm delivery date.

Trowaid had a very ambitious project, offering customers the opportunity to “Adopt a Trow”. They were unable to find UK producers who would do a production run of just 500 and eventually discovered a company in Russia, but communication problems were against them, and the factory itself proved to be in China. They were very pleased with the prototype of the teddy trow which they finally received last week – but because of the timescale, they had already refunded money to their customers and explained they would not be getting their teddies.

Chairwoman of the Shetland area Young Enterprise team Sue Beer said: “We were all impressed by the quality of this year’s companies. They have learned so much in their Young Enterprise journey and this experience will serve them well as they leave school and head out into the wider world.”

The judging team consisted of Ben Laurenson, of RSM UK, Neil Henderson, of SIC economic development, and Donna Simpson, from small business Da Local Yokel.

The presentation of certificates to all the participants, and trophy to the winning managing director, was made by chief executive of Young Enterprise Scotland Geoff Leask, who came up for the event.

Mr Leask said: “Both companies were fantastic. Trowaid were very impressive, working with companies in Russia and China to source products.”

He said that for both companies there was a lot of learning involved, and they had a passion for Shetland, reflected in their products, and were focused on engaging with people. “You don’t do business unless you like people,” he added.

The experience would stand them in good stead for applying to college and university, he said, and he was “pretty sure” that one or two of the contestants would go into business – he had seen the “spark within them”.

The YES company programme supports sixth year pupils in forming and running their own company for an academic year. Teams are judged on their company report, their trade stand, a presentation before the invited audience and finally by a question and answer session.

Ms Beer said: “The final in Shetland is a good rehearsal for the winning team for the greater challenges they will face at the national event in June in Glasgow.”

Young Enterprise is always keen to recruit new members with experience in business to their board, and as business advisers.


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