North Mainland Notes 20.03.09

ANCHOR funds

The recent bingo night in the Delting Boating Club for “Friends of ANCHOR” generated a further £410 towards the fund-raising efforts of Brae woman Isobel Mowat. Isobel is also taking part in the London Marathon on 26th April and sponsor sheets can be found in local shops. She would like to thank everyone who attended the bingo evening and helped raise such a terrific total.

Computing for crofters

Shetland College UHI is offering free short courses for anyone who is interested in applying to the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) for funding and is specifically aimed at the crofting community. Classes will cover accessing the internet, familiarisation with the SRDP website and registering with the funding programme. Basic word processing, including copying and pasting text from a Word document into the online application, will also be addressed.

The course will be available at the college’s network of rurallearning centres across Shetland and the North Mainland course will take place over two two-hour sessions in the North Mainland Learning Centre at 4 Havragord, Brae, starting today from 11am-1pm.

Brae Men’s Night fund-raiser

The annual Brae Men’s Night took place in Brae Hall on Valentine’s night. This was the 25th anniversary of this popular family event and once again the Brae men did themselves proud. A sell-out crowd was treated to a superb four-course meal, followed by several hours of great dance music. It was decided this year that all profit made on the night would be presented to CLAN. Thanks to those who bought raffle tickets, and some very generous cash donations, the magnificent sum of £2,300 was later presented to CLAN representative Susan Creighton. Over the 25 years that this event has been held, approximately £25,500 has been presented to various good causes. The Brae men would like to say a very big thank you to all who attended the Men’s Night, those who provided raffle prizes and to those who made cash donations on the night. Preparations for next year’s event will soon be underway.

Hillswick Quiz Night

The monthly quiz night takes place in the Hillswick Hall next Friday at 7.30pm. Teams should contain a maximum of four people and prizes will be on offer to the winning team. The bar will be open, snacks will be available and there will also be a raffle. All proceeds will go towards the proposed hall refurbishment scheme.

Kirk sale success

Organisers of the sale of work in Ollaberry Hall last Saturday night in aid of Northmavine Kirks are delighted to report that the fantastic sum of £1,032.23 was raised. They would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported the sale in any way. The committee is truly overwhelmed by the generosity of people and would like to extend special thanks for donations that totalled over £300 alone.

WRVS meet in Northmavine

WRVS is delighted to announce that they will soon begin another new club; this time it will be held in Northmavine.

The club will begin as a social club, and will be held late afternoon every second Wednesday to complement the current Northmavine Happy Hour Club meetings. WRVS hope with the right level of interest and help, the event will become a lunch club, meeting during lunchtime and providing a low cost hot meal for folk as well as a chance for people to socialise.

The first gathering starts on Wednesday at Sullom Hall from 3pm until 5pm. The club will meet every second Wednesday and will rotate between halls in Northmavine. So, if you are over 60 or have reduced mobility, the WRVS welcome you to come along for a cup of tea, a biscuit and a sheeks. If you would like to attend but do not have access to transport, please contact staff at the WRVS office and they will try to arrange a lift.

WRVS is also looking for volunteers to help run the club for two hours every fortnight, so if you feel you could help, please contact the office. Telephone (01595) 743915 or e-mail The staff at WRVS hopes to see you on Wednesday at Sullom Hall.

Meeting details: Wednesday 25th March, Sullom Hall, 3-5pm; Wednesday 8th April, Eshaness Community Centre, 3-5pm; Wednesday 22nd April, North Roe Hall, 3-5pm; Wednesday 6th May, Ollaberry Hall, 3-5pm; Wednesday 20th May, Hillswick Hall, 3-5pm. Further dates will be decided at the club.

Voe Pier Trust meeting

Voe residents are invited to attend the annual general meeting of the Voe Pier Trust on Tuesday night at 7.30pm in the Voe Hall. Trustees have now reached the end of a three-year term of office and although they can stand for re-election, the group would be glad to hear from anyone who would like to be considered for a role within the organisation. If there are more than four nominations for trustee, an election will be held at the meeting.

In addition to trustees elected from the Voe community, there are also four ex-officio trustees comprising two SIC councillors from the North of Shetland ward and two community councillors representing the Voe district. At present Alastair Cooper and Addie Doull represent the SIC and Barbara Cheyne the community council. John Taylor was co-opted at last year’s annual general meeting to fill the other community council vacancy.

Voe Pier Trust has worked hard over the past few years to redevelop the historic pier area, which dated from 1873, resulting in excellent facilities for the local community. The breakwater and marina have provided both economic and leisure opportunities and the facilities have been well used since the re-opening.

Diamond Day at Houster

Folk driving past the junction to Lochend might have been amused by the recent appearance of a “couple” sitting at the roadside. The reason for this handsome pair became apparent to me as I popped along Sonny and Inga Johnson at Houster in Lochend. The house was filled with family, flowers, gifts and greetings cards. On the coffee table sat a card from the Queen and a letter from the Lord Lieutenant, John Scott, congratulating Sonny and Inga on their diamond wedding anniversary.

Sixty years ago, on St Patrick’s Day 1949, Sonny and Inga were married at the Lerwick Registry office. Sonny recalls it was not such a boannie day of weather with hail showers and a raw wind. After the ceremony it was off to the bride’s family home at Da Berg, North Roe, for a family celebration.

Six decades on and apart from a short time spent in Sumburgh, Sonny and Inga have spent their entire married life at Houster. Inga spent many happy years as post mistress and also enjoyed nine years of driving “da mail car”, which she describes as “the best of her life”. Sonny worked throughout Shetland on various jobs including the construction of ferry terminals and the Burra and Trondra bridges as well as the infamous “waater scheme” that many throughout Shetland were employed on. Later he was involved in the fishing industry and owned shares in local boats.

As well as holding down busy jobs and running the croft, the couple had seven children in the years that followed their marriage. This family has extended through the years and they now have 22 grandbairns and 12 great grandbairns, the youngest of which arrived on the morning of their diamond wedding anniversary. Congratulations to Brydon and Inga on their peerie lass.

Last Sunday, in marked contrast to their wedding-day celebrations at Da Berg, the family organised a diamond wedding party in the North Roe & Lochend Hall. Close family had travelled to Shetland from as far away as Canada and many of the grandbairns, currently studying sooth, came home to help celebrate. The party began with a trip to the hall in a classic car and a family meal followed by an evening celebration with over 100 invited guests. Sonny and Inga were delighted with the live music provided by Robbie Cumming and Bryan Gear among others. Bryan is a particular favourite of Inga’s so the day was made all the more special by hearing him play.

Although Inga has recently had a knee replacement and Sonny has gone through an eye operation, the couple are still full of life and can be relied on to support any event in the community. Family is also an important part of their lives and with family help, the foundation is taking shape on a new house for Sonny and Inga just across the road from Houster. As I left, Inga was looking forward to their blue sapphire anniversary and Sonny and I were discussing the “hoose warming” that would soon take place across the road.

Congratulations to Sonny and Inga on your 60th wedding anniversary and here’s to many more celebrations to come for you both.

Up-Helly-A’ day at Brae High

Stuart Robertson from Muckle Roe, this year’s lead Viking in the Delting Up-Helly-A’ will not be the only Guizer Jarl in Muckle Roe getting his suit on today. Guizer Jarl Matthew Johnson of Primary 3/4 at Brae School will also be preparing to lead his squad of hardy Vikings this afternoon.

Traditionally, Delting Up-Helly-A’ day is always an exciting event for school bairns in the parish with the morning visit from the Jarl’s Squad and preparations to welcome them. Parents, grandparents and extended family members gather at the schools to help celebrate the visit and pupils, sometimes reluctantly, descend back to normality in the afternoon. This year primary 3 and 4 pupils at the school are studying the Vikings as part of their environmental projects and the idea was born to host a school Up-Helly-A’. After lunch today an Up-Helly-A’ concert for staff, parents and extended families will take place in the gym hall at Brae. Pupils of primary 3 and 4 will form the Jarl’s squad and Matthew was chosen as the Jarl after a class vote. The remaining classes in the primary have been busy preparing acts for the event. The bairns have really taken the lead in the preparation of the squad acts with squad meetings taking place during the interval, much of the detail being “top-secret” and costumes being made at school or sourced on eBay. Parents have also helped out, and one enthusiastic parent has crafted a wooden galley complete with wheels.

Depute head teacher of primary, Billy Forsyth, is delighted with the way that the whole school community has pulled together to organise this event. He said: “Brae High School Up-Helly-A’ has really taken off with bairns and parents really taking this idea to heart. The school is really keen to look at local culture and how this can be used as a learning tool to help with skills such as reading, writing and problem solving.”

As well as preparing for the school Up-Helly-A’, pupils will also use the influx of parents and family as an enterprise opportunity and classes have prepared a mountain of home bakes to sell during the afternoon to help raise funds for school playground equipment.

Good luck to everyone involved, have a fantastic day and three cheers for the Brae School Up-Helly-A’!

Good luck to Delting guizers

It’s an early start today for the Jarl’s squad who muster at 8am in the Northern Lights function room for the toast to the new Jarl. At 9am Stuart Robertson will head the march to the galley shed and this will be followed by a day of visits to schools, Sellaness, Brae police station and Northaven care centre. Spectators and squads are reminded that the procession will take place an hour earlier this year and the Jarl’s squad will march up the ranks at 6.45pm for a 7pm light up. Best wishes to Stuart, his squad members and all those taking part, for a fantastic weekend.

Maree Hay


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