The Shetland Times » The Shetland Times Shetland News, Sport, Jobs, Properties, Shop Sun, 04 Oct 2015 09:20:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sports conference lifts off with star appearances Sat, 03 Oct 2015 16:05:58 +0000 Two inspirational figures were the guest speakers at the inaugural Shetland Sports Conference today which saw people from throughout the sporting community treated to a variety of seminars.

The household figure of gold-medal winning Dame Kelly Holmes topped the bill at the conference, but just as interesting was the, lesser known, member of the paralympian cyclist team and adventurer Karen Darke.

It was not the first visit to Shetland, or even the Clickimin Centre, for Darke, who opened the conference, as she was here previously on a sea kayaking trip.

Darke, who was a geologist and outdoor enthusiast before becoming paralysed in a climbing accident is an expert on using the mind to overcome seemingly insurmountable hurdles. Indeed, some of her adventuring accomplishments would daunt most fit, fully able people.

She said before the conference started that she was in Shetland to “talk about challenges, and overcoming challenges and using a mindset. I think of the mind as something that can control us, or we can use it to help us, we can control  it.”


Dame Kelly Holmes

According to Darke, as well as the practicalities of becoming a top athlete, such as cost of equipment and travel, the biggest worries are usually those of the mind.

She added: “My advise is just to try and pursue your dream. If you do that and are passionate about it then incredible things happen that you might not think could otherwise.”

Holmes said that she had fancied visiting Shetland but the real trigger was meeting a group of young Shetlanders on a personal development programme who were part of BP’s Young Leaders programme prior to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

She was to showcase the work of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, one of whose aims is to help disadvantaged youngsters succeed and find work through the mentoring of elite athletes, many of whom the youngsters can identify as inspirational figures.

“We utilise the skills of sports people who mentor the young people and our outcomes are to get them back into education, training or employment,” she said. “Hopefully,” she said of her Shetland visit,  “that will show what we can do, possibly in partnership with various organisations up here.”

Holmes’s own athletics career  was remarkable: a keen amateur, she became judo champion of the army and ran in the men’s 800m races in the forces. Back in civilian life she concentrated on her running, and in the span of three 1500m races went from posting an “average club” time of 4.17 to a world class performance of 4.01, beating Yvonne Murray in the process.

Holmes, who specialised in the 800m and 1,500m events, won a gold medal for both distances  at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. She set British records in numerous events and still holds the records over the 600, 800, 1000 and 1,500m distances.

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Fire in gas plant container Sat, 03 Oct 2015 15:02:18 +0000 Fire engines went to a fire in a shipping container at Shetland Gas Plant near Mossbank last night to find the blaze had been put out before they arrived.

Appliances from Brae, Bixter and Hillswick were called out at 21.59pm after a transformer in the container caught fire. By the time the first engine arrived at 22.19 the fire had been extinguished. Two sets of breathing apparatus and and a powder extinguisher were nonetheless deployed as the scene was checked by firemen.

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Walk and talk for the good of mind and body Fri, 02 Oct 2015 13:42:54 +0000 People are being encouraged to take part in walks for the good of mind and body as part Mental Health Awareness Week that starts on Monday.

A World Mental Health Day coffee morning will be at Levenwick Hall on Saturday 10th October from 10am-12am. The event is being organised by NHS Shetland, Mind Your Head and the Samaritans. There will also be a display sharing some people’s stories on the day.

The organisations are also challenging people to perform “random acts of kindness” throughout the week.
NHS health improvement practitioner Jill Hood said: “These are small, everyday things that can boost someone’s day. We’ll be posting suggestions on our Healthy Shetland website and social media throughout the week and would love to hear about any of your own acts of kindness.


Jill Hood

“This year we want Mental Health week to be an opportunity to focus on the small, everyday things we can do for ourselves and one another to promote good mental well being and encourage hope for recovery from mental health problems.

“Being active is a great way to look after your mental health too. One of the simplest ways to do this is walking. Walking can be a great opportunity for a social catch up as well as releasing all those feel good endorphins into your body. We’ll be hosting Mental Health Week walks across Shetland during the week. See Healthy Shetland website, Facebook or twitter for further info.”

• Lerwick Tuesday 6th October 5.30pm – 6pm meet at Lerwick health centre

• Scalloway – Thursday 8th October 1.30pm – meet outside Scalloway pool

• Levenwick – Saturday 10th October 9.30am – meet at Levenwick hall

• West Mainland – Sat 10th October 2pm – meet end of the road in Bousta, Sandness

Ms Hood added: “We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. Mental Health recovery is both possible and likely. People often describe recovery as a journey – it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone no longer has a diagnosis or has stopped needing to use medication.

“Recovery is about taking positive steps forward. One of the things that really helps recovery is sharing knowledge and experiences; that’s why we wanted to encourage an opportunity to share stories about recovery from mental health problems. Sharing stories about recovery can help people feel less alone, find strategies which might work for them, help somebody to support a loved one and can break down the stigma of mental health problems.”

If you are worried about your mental health contact your GP. If you need to talk, you can call the Samaritans 24/7 on their new free phone number: 116 123.

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Brave toddlers help to raise funds for hospital charity Fri, 02 Oct 2015 12:02:32 +0000 Two brave Cunningsburgh toddlers have helped to raise more than £1,000 for charity months after they were whisked away to Edinburgh for life-saving treatment.

Neve Halcrow, three, and Rocco Drakefield, two, had to be airlifted to the intensive care unit at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh earlier this year, as both were having difficulty breathing.

Neve and Rocco developed problems, in separate cases in January and February. After being seen by staff at the Gilbert Bain Hospital the ywere flown down to the capital and needed ventilators to help them recover. Mum Kirsti Moncrieff said the croup was so severe that Neve’s airway closed up and doctors had to put a tube down her throat to help her breath.

Neve spent six days on a ventilator and was given steroids to reduce the swelling of her airway.

“It doesn’t even seem real,” said Kirsti. “It feels like a bad dream, I can hardly believe it happened.”

Neve was heavily sedated and spent another five or six days on a separate ward in Edinburgh recovering. “It turned out to be the flu, although she had been vaccinated,” she said. “It just goes to show how severe the flu virus can be in an otherwise healthy toddler,” added Kirsti.

Neve had been admitted to the Gilbert Bain with febrile convulsion – a fit or seizure caused by a fever, and despite seeming okay during the night, she rapidly deteriorated.

“I always do wonder if we weren’t in hospital how things could have been different. I don’t know how quickly we would have got her to hospital. The [staff at] the Gilbert Bain acted immediately and they were brilliant,” said Kirsti. She also praised consultant anaesthetist Catriona Barr at the Lerwick hospital.

Rocco’s mum Dhanika Moar said her son had two respiratory viruses and norovirus and spent 12 days in intensive care in Edinburgh before another eight days on another ward.

Rocco was admitted to the Gilbert Bain suffering from bronchiolitis and had to be resuscitated by doctors before being flown south.

“I don’t think we realised how ill he was until we got to Edinburgh, until we got to the intensive care unit,” said Dhanika.

Last week Rocco’s family re-lived the experience, as it was filmed at the time for a documentary on BBC ALBA, focusing on the hospital retrieval service. “It was quite emotional trying to watch it all back. We tried to forget about it,” said Dhanika.

“It was all very quick. You obviously hear about these things happening to other people but you never think your child is going to be as ill as that.”

Both children have recovered and Dhanika and Kirsti praised the hard work of staff at the Gilbert Bain and in the medical team in Edinburgh.

“She [Neve] was quite tired for a long time but other than that she is absolutely fine now,” said Kirsti.

During their stay, they stayed in specially provided accommodation for parents and families of patients at the children’s hospital.

As a thank you, the families held Sunday teas and a car boot sale at Cunningsburgh hall on 2nd August, and Kirsti’s partner Alexander Halcrow who works as a rigger at SBS at Sullom Voe, sold fancies at his work. In total they raised £1,185 for the Edinburgh Sick Kids Friends Foundation which helps provide the accommodation for visiting families.

“Without the flat that they provided we would’ve been really stuck and it’s nice to know that’s all arranged…,” said Kirsti.

The families would like to thank all those who helped out at the Sunday teas and all those who attended the event.


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Man sentenced after giving false name to police Fri, 02 Oct 2015 11:45:10 +0000 A repeat offender who twice gave false details to police after coming off the NorthLink ferry is beginning a six month prison sentence.

Paul Shields, 29, of Ailsa Road, Coatbridge, admitted providing the wrong name and date of birth when questioned by police on 2nd June.

He lied again during a follow-up visit by officers to an address in Tingwall on 23rd June.
Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said Shields had no legitimate connection to Shetland, and was stopped coming off the ferry following suspicions he may have been carrying drugs.

Defence agent Chris Dowle said Shields was coming to Shetland to make a new start for himself.

He said Shields had heard there was work up in the isles and there was “nothing untoward” in his coming here.

Mr Dowle added Shields had felt shocked to have been approached by the police at the Holmsgarth terminal. Shields gave the wrong details “in a moment of panic”. On the second occasion, he felt committed to sticking to what he had said before.

“He understands the position he is in.”

Honorary sheriff Sandy Cluness told Shields: “I’ve heard what your solicitor has said. This court considers this kind of deception very seriously and, in view of your previous convictions as well, I will sentence you to six months.”

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A minister, a menace and an acrobatic wonder in this week’s Shetland Times Fri, 02 Oct 2015 06:00:42 +0000 • Plans that could see additional powers and the creation of a national islands plan have been published.

• The only shop in Fetlar has closed.

• Scottish Secretary David Mundell visits the isles.

• Judges presiding over Alistair Carmichael’s legal case are seeking more evidence.

• Isles sheep should be regarded for their green credentials.

• Musical mavericks come to the fore at a classical night of entertainment.

• And in sport strongman Dhanni Moar is top dollar as he smashes a deadlift record.

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Business owner’s frustration over sale of Skeld unit Thu, 01 Oct 2015 16:26:54 +0000 The proprietor of Skeld-based Shetlandeli is scouring the West Side for a suitable premises after the council put an industrial building up for sale that the preserves manufacturer had hoped to rent to expand its business.

Shetlandeli owner Jill Franklin said that she was very disappointed that the council had decided to sell Unit 2 at the Skeld Industrial Estate, shortly after putting Unit 1 on the market. That older, smaller building is still in the process of being sold.

Jill Franklin founder of Shetlandeli. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Jill Franklin founder of Shetlandeli. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The two buildings had once housed the Shetland Smokehouse that was for a number of years the only significant private employer in the area. More recently the larger building was home to Shetland Cheese. Its use as a cheese factory dictated that the ventilation system would have to be thoroughly cleaned if it was to be used for food processing in future.

According to Ms Franklin, it would be too much of a leap for Shetlandeli, which has only been established for a year or so, to attempt to buy the unit. But she says that the firm, which has established a UK-wide customer base, will have to move from the Skeld Hall if it is to expand.

While Ms Franklin is very grateful to have been allowed to use the hall, it has neither the space nor the specialised facilities for a food processing company.

Ms Franklin said: “It’s a sad day for Skeld that it is losing these two buildings and the council is doing nothing to support economic development in the area now.

“I know the council is having to save money, but it still does not make it any easier. Our options have been drastically reduced now.”

But West Mainland councillor and SIC political leader Gary Robinson said that council officials had been faced with a tough choice when the council could not effectively afford to bring the building back up to required standard.

He said: “The council could have rented it out again – but at considerable cost. There is no question that the building had deteriorated. Part of that was done previously when the smoker was taken out through the wall.

“Certainly there was not the money available to renovate it into a suitable building again. It’s disappointing that the council could not invest but with the way finances are at the moment that would have been extremely difficult.”

“Still it is an opportunity for someone to buy the building and put it to good use and hopefully for the use of the local economy.”

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Couper told to behave Thu, 01 Oct 2015 15:51:13 +0000 An offender who has been “a pain in the side” of the court has been allowed his liberty after a sheriff ruled he should be trusted to keep his nose clean.

Twenty-two year-old Trevor Couper was ordered to stay out of Lerwick when he was released on bail yesterday to an address in Voe. He admitted two charges of stealing alcopops from the Tesco supermarket on 21st.

Couper also pleaded guilty to brandishing a bottle and swearing at an address in Lerwick’s St Magnus Street.

The offences happened on 21st August when Couper was on bail.

He had been held on remand since his initial court appearance in relation to the matter.

But sheriff Philip Mann said a letter put forward by Couper showed he was intelligent – although he tempered that by insisting he had read Couper’s letters before.

“It’s clear to me from the letter you’ve written – this is not the first letter I’ve received from you – that you are an intelligent person, and it’s just such a shame you can’t see for yourself what other people see,” he told Couper.

“It may be you’ve realised drink is the big problem in your life, but I think I’ve probably seen that before. You are intelligent, and you know what buttons to press. I have to approach your letter with a degree of care.

“Having said that you are a young man and I am prepared, as I would be with every young person, to give you an opportunity.”

He deferred sentence until 29th October, when Couper is due to appear on other matters.
However, he ordered Couper abide by a curfew seven days a week, and to stay away from the town – except for court appearances or to attend appointments with his solicitor.

“You’ve been a pain in the side of this court for some considerable time. I’d hope this time you really are going to grow up and start acting like a reasonable human being.

“If you’d just keep off the drink things would be so much better for you and everybody else.”

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‘Total menace’ jailed for 16-months Wed, 30 Sep 2015 16:45:36 +0000 A “total menace” who deliberately stepped out in front of moving traffic is beginning a 16-month custodial sentence.

Nathan Hilditch, 20, of Horseshoe Close in Virkie was handed the jail term after sheriff Philip Mann indicated he had lost all patience.

Hilditch has been testing the will of both the police and the court by deliberately stepping out in front of moving traffic in the town.

But he has also been struggling violently with officers fed up with his boisterous behaviour, and carrying out other offences too.

His antics are the latest in a long line of offences, since he began making nuisance 999 calls – an offence for which he was handed a 15-week sentence in July last year.

At Lerwick Sheriff Court today, he admitted culpably and recklessly running into the carriageway at Holmsgarth Road on 13th September.

He also admitted breaking the rear windscreen wiper of a police car in King Erik Street six days later and struggling violently with police.

Hilditch was due to appear in court anyway, after previously admitting similar offences.

Chief among these was an occasion on 10th July when he made an attempt to gain access to a police car in Lerwick’s Commercial Road.

He struggled violently with police officers and made a reckless attempt to kick an officer to the head while he was at the wheel.

The court had heard that could have resulted in the officer losing control of his vehicle.

At one stage Hilditch repeatedly tried to bite and butt a policeman.

Hilditch also admitted breaching the peace in the town’s South Road on 29th May – again resisting arrest, and lashing out with his arms and kicking out with his legs.

In addition, Hilditch breached a community payback order.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the latest case was “more of the same” behaviour as before.

“He’s moved from previously wasting the police’s time by making 999 calls, and now prefers to either jump in front of cars, knowing police will come or, if police are passing, he runs away from them, drawing attention to himself.”

The fiscal cited an occasion where police were investigating an assault and spotted Hilditch running away, bringing suspicion on himself.

He said Hilditch had displayed “moronic” behaviour, by jumping out in front of traffic.

“There is a degree of arrogance about him now. He thinks he’s better than others.”

Mr MacKenzie added Hilditch was only troublesome when drunk, but added the offender did not have a drink problem.

“He chooses to get drunk. He is now a considerable menace, not only to the police, but to members of the public who are driving about.”

Defence agent Tommy Allan admitted it was difficult to find anything new to say about Hilditch.

“It has got to the stage where things have built up,” he said.

“There is an inevitability about what happens now.”

The court heard Hilditch could have mental health issues, with Mr Allan describing his running in front of cars as a “form of self-harm”.

“Sooner or later he’s going to realise things are going nowhere for him.”

He said Hilditch had been assessed as suitable for a restriction of liberty order, which would allow him to keep his home address – something Hilditch was concerned about losing.

Mr Allan added that swimming had helped provide Hilditch with a focus on life, which helped him behave better.

“It’s not much of a defence to say he committed this offence because the swimming pool was closed, but certainly when he had more routine he was able to behave himself.”

Sheriff Philip Mann told Hilditch: “I’m afraid the time has come for a custodial sentence. I’m not going to beat about the bush – you’re just a total menace.

“Mr MacKenzie is right – when you don’t drink, you are able to behave. I don’t understand why you can’t just lay off the drink.”

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Banned from the road for 20 months Wed, 30 Sep 2015 14:59:34 +0000 A man has been banned from the roads for 20 months, ordered to complete unpaid work and adhere to a curfew after admitting motoring and drugs charges.

James Gray, 49, of Grostane in Lerwick previously admitted possession of heroin at the police station on 9th May.

He also admitted having the Class A drug, as well as the Class B substance cannabis resin, in Grostane five days later.
In addition, Gray pleaded guilty to dangerous driving on 11th June last year at the town’s North Road.

He drove at grossly excessive speed, such that he was unable to maintain control of the car. He narrowly missed hitting pedestrians, mounted a pavement and crashed into a wall.

Sentence had been deferred for background reports. At court today, defence agent Tommy Allan said Gray accepted he should not have been behind the wheel on the day in question, and was responsible for the manner of driving which took place.

He added Gray had enjoyed the benefit of staying with his sister in Spain, adding his long-term aim would be to go back there, where the climate suited him.

Mr Allan said Gray was well experienced in managing his own addiction, adding Gray was prepared to carry out unpaid work as an alternative to custody.

Sheriff Philip Mann warned Gray: “You don’t have a good record”. He said he could put Gray into custody, but added he did not believe that would achieve anything.

As well as banning him from the roads, he ordered Gray carry out 150 hours of unpaid work within six months, and told him to wear a tag for four months.

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