Views from the Scord

Sunday Club is back

Sunday sees the return of the Sunday Club in the Wesley Hall, next to the Methodist kirk. It is a joint Methodist and Church of Scotland club and is open to children aged four and over.

Last year the children learned how to make bread and grow plants and staged a nativity performance featuring some great vocal performances, as well as participating weekly in many other fun, Bible-based games, crafts, quizzes and songs.

The club is held every Sunday and runs from 10.45am to noon. To find out more contact Shyrleen Pottinger on (01595) 880249 or Chris Barton on (01595) 880204.

Harbour activity

The Northern Lighthouse Board vessel Pole Star berthed in Scalloway Harbour for a time on Tuesday last week while in the area checking navigation lights and markers.

Also on Tuesday the fishing boat Comrades towed a 70m salmon cage into the port and lifted out onto the west quay. The steel cage, belonging to A&P Tait, is of a type thought to be suitable for deep water locations that was innovative in the earlier days of salmon farming as it was a self-contained cage and feed system allowing periods free of boat based feeding for the operators.

With large-scale multi-cage feed systems this configuration has now become largely out-dated and this may be the last of its type in this area, now being broken up for scrapping.

The distinctive form of the Fugro-run Bucentaur has dominated the harbour for the latter part the week. Arriving last Wednesday, the 2,768grt, 70m long core drilling ship sports a substantial and lofty drilling derrick amidships, which has lit up the entire harbour area in the hours of darkness with powerful working lights.

The Aberdeen-registered standby vessel Vos Islay called into port on Friday last week for crewing and supplies and the well-boat Ronja Settler continues to deliver salmon to the factory at Blacksness.

Fishing activity was a reasonable average this week with the Devotion, Alison Kay, Atlantia, Comrades, Fertile, Radiant Star, Valhalla and Guardian Angell contributing to a total of 1,274 boxes landed. The highest single landing of the week came from the Devotion with 240 boxes.

The Mizpah remains prominently berthed on the south-east commercial pier at time of writing, believed to be awaiting a visit to the slipway before returning to sea.

Forty years of home

The commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Walter & Joan Gray Eventide Home in Scalloway was celebrated on what was described as “a splendid day” last Thursday.

The events started with a church service with a welcome speech from the Rev. Magnus Williamson on behalf of the Eventide Homes Friends’ Group and further readings from the Rev. Bob Macgregor from the Shetland Presbytery and the Rev. Sydney Graham, convener of Crossreach which runs the home.

The service was attended by around 100 people, including past and present staff, the friends’ group and around half a dozen of the home’s residents made it across to the kirk.

The assembly then retired back to the home for the cutting of a cake, performed by Ella Law, the eldest resident, and Natasha Graham, the youngest staff member.

The staff and invited guests were then treated to a “beautiful buffet”. Residents were accompanied by friends and family and among the visiting guests were Annie Macdonald, Crossreach’s head of service for the North of Scotland, Dorothy Gautier, who runs Crossreach’s home at Belmont Castle and has worked there for 32 years and Matthew Ross who is starting his post as the new manager of the Scalloway home at the beginning of September.

The party went on throughout the afternoon and into the early evening and was perhaps best described by resident George Stout, formerly of Fair Isle, who reflected on having had “a wonderful day”.

The commemoration continued on Sunday with another kirk service held in the afternoon and then Sunday teas and an exhibition of photos relating to the home in the Scalloway Public Hall, combined with the launch of a calendar featuring events and people associated with the home over the four decades since it opened.

The service and teas were very well attended and sales of the calendar raised £480 on the day and the teas nearly £400. The attendance even included a coach load from the Shetland pony event who had travelled out especially for the afternoon.

The home was opened by MP Jo Grimond on 5th August, 1969 and visited by Queen Elizabeth II the following day accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh. Princess Anne, who was also due to attend, was absent due to ill health, all recorded in the home’s weighty visitor book.

Another poignant entry among the visitors is the signature of Diana, Princess of Wales who visited with Prince Charles in July 1986. A further prestigious event in the home’s history was when it was re-opened by the Lord Lieutenant John Scott after being completely rebuilt in 1999.

Last week’s events were organised and co-ordinated by the friends’ group, of which a spokesman thanked all who supported the teas and all who baked them and worked in the kitchen.

Norwegian donation

Wartime heroes of the Shetland Bus movement are brought to the forefront of local history again this week with a generous donation from the Norwegian family of one of the Bus boat skippers towards the project to establish a new museum premises for Scalloway.

The gift comes from the children of Sverre Kverhellen, skipper of the Brattholm, who was shot along with his crew and soldiers of the resistance at Tromsø in 1943.

The Brattholm and her crew were transporting members of the resistance to northern Norway to form a base for resistance and sabotage operations against the Nazi occupying force, but a betrayal upon their arrival led to a bloody battle in which the boat was sunk, one officer was killed and two of the force were badly injured and later died.

The remaining officer and the crew of the vessel, including Sverre Kverhellen, were taken away for interrogation, only to be lined up two by two against a wall and shot by the Gestapo in a brutal act in contravention of the rules of war for their involvement. Further to this the four shore-based contacts and helpers that were revealed to the Gestapo through this incident were sent to concentration camps where they also died.

The only survivor of the battle was Second Lieutenant Jan Baalsrud, whose subsequent escape has become one of the truly heroic stories of World War II, as he swam fjords, climbed mountains, suffered frostbite and even an avalanche as he made his escape through the brutal icy landscape of northern Norway, into Sweden and on to eventual freedom, assisted by over 60 people en route. His tale has been told through books and a film dramatisation.

Those who did not escape are honoured at a memorial at Tromsø and in the local museum there. The crew of the Brattholm also feature on the Scalloway memorial.

The modern connection between the family of skipper Kverhellen and Scalloway comes directly through local woman Margaret Gronneberg, who has known members of the family for many years, but became a close correspondent with Sverhellen’s daughter Jorunn Aase after members of the family were unfortunately unable to attend the unveiling of the Shetland Bus Memorial in Scalloway in 2003.

Margaret met members of the family while on a recent trip to Norway and was presented with 3,000 Norwegian kroner to pass on to the Shetland Bus Friendship Society toward the new museum. That amounts to around £270 which Margaret has added to herself to make a total of £300.

Friendship Society treasurer Willie Smith said: “We would like to express our gratitude to Margaret for bringing this money over and to the Kverhellen family for their interest and support for our project to provide a more suitable venue for display Scalloway’s history.”

Jumble sale

The Scalloway Toddlers group is holding a jumble sale in the Trondra Hall on Saturday, 5th September. They would welcome donations of goods toward the sale and the hall will be open from 8pm onwards on the Friday evening before the sale for people to deliver their own goods, or, if required they can also offer a collection service for goods.

Also on offer will be a homebakes stall and they intend to hold a raffle during the afternoon.

The sale is to raise funds toward providing additional play equipment for the group to use at the Trondra Hall for play days for the group members, but would benefit the community as a whole as the equipment would also be available for anyone hiring the Trondra Hall for private events and would complement the bouncy castle that is already offered by the venue, making the hall a very favourable event for children’s parties and celebrations.

The jumble sale will accept all manner of goods including toys, games, books, clothes and general bric-a-brac. While car boot sales have become the most popular means of having a clear out nowadays, a jumble sale such as this offers the ideal chance to get rid of your jumble without staging your own table. To find out more or organise a collection contact Cyndi on (01595) 880458.

Burra ponies

As reported elsewhere, the winning pony in the Shetland Pony Breed Show, Merkisayre Dion, hailed from the Burra stud of George Tait, but there was further artistic Burra connection to the show last weekend.

Local artist Anne Barron, who moved to Burra two years ago, was commissioned to paint the prizes for the show and has been working for the past five months to produce five paintings of ponies in Shetland landscapes.

On the first day of the show the paintings were put on display to high acclaim from all concerned before being presented to the five ring winners. Limited edition prints were later made available for purchase and Anne immediately received a good number of orders from around the globe, including a large order from an Australian to serve as prizes at a pony show in Australia in December.

Ann has received a lot of potential commissions through her involvement in the show in her regular field of making paintings or drawings of subjects from photographs provided and the limited edition prints are still available from her through the Shetland Pony Breeders Society or by contacting her direct on (01595) 859060 for viewing or more information.

Anne is currently working on a range of local wildlife drawings and paintings in the run up to the craft fair in November.

Mark Burgess


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