14th November 2018
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Memorials for ‘peerie’ guitar legend

By JOHN ROBERTSON

THE LATE Shetland guitar legend Peerie Willie Johnson could soon have four permanent memorials to mark his life as well as the guitar festival held annually in his name.

Plans for a commemorative cairn at his birthplace at Bouster in the Herra, Yell, are well advanced with over £2,300 raised by the Back to Bouster committee towards the £9,000 target. Meanwhile his sister Evelyn Leask would like to see both a plaque in Back Charlotte Lane in Lerwick, where he lived and learnt to play, and a more prominent memorial in the town centre.

She has suggested a sheltered bench near the lifeboat station on the Esplanade, where Willie liked to sit in the summer months. It could be inscribed with an image of Willie and of his guitar, although she told Lerwick Community Council in a letter that she is open to suggestions. She is to be invited to give a presentation about her idea to the community councillors.

Shetland Arts is also planning a tribute to the guitarist, who died in May last year aged 86. It is aiming to set up a scholarship fund to help budding musicians gain the skills they need to progress musical careers. Funds will be raised from various ventures including a Peerie Willie DVD due to come out before Christmas.

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*Future residents of Lerwick’s newest housing scheme may find themselves living in Diggery Court or Da Vadils. Those are two of the names favoured by Lerwick Com­munity Council for the 16 homes being built by the Hjaltland Housing Association on the site of the former fish factory at Grantfield.

The Diggery idea apparently relates to an old name for a street which ran past the site in the 19th Century. The association has had Diggery Place recommended to it but community councillor Damien Ristori favoured Diggery Court.

Another member, Eddie Knight, liked Kiln Place in recognition of a fish- smoking kiln having been there in the past.

Other suggestions already submitted to the association include Grimond’s Place, in memory of long-serving Liberal MP Jo Grimond and Williamson Court, as a tribute to L Williamson’s fish factory and all who served in her.

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