North Mainland Notes

By Maree Hay

Borealis breeds success

Earlier this year, pupils at Brae High School enjoyed great success with the student-led school magazine, Borealis. The magazine was short-listed for awards in five categories including Scottish School Magazine of the Year, in a competition run by the Periodical Publishers Association of Scotland.
At the awards ceremony in June, Borealis picked up the silver award for the Scottish School Magazine of the year and a top award for best commercial strategy. As a result, members of the editorial team were invited to travel to the mainland for work experience at both a busy periodical and a magazine design company.

Recently, Brae High School students Rowan Johnson and Martha Morton travelled to Edinburgh to spend a few days gaining an insight into typical workdays at the Times Educational Supplement Scotland (TESS) and magazine design company CMYK. On their return, Rowan and Martha put together an account of their adventure.

“It was extremely interesting to work at both companies. Our time at TESS gave us an insight into newspaper journalism, whereas at CMYK we got an insight into magazine design. At TESS we learned all about journalism and how to get into the profession, by speaking to the staff there, who were all really helpful. We got to see how the business side works and how they use advertising in their newspaper. We also got the chance to see how the production side works. We even got to write for the newspaper! It was really interesting to see how much work and effort goes in to create the finished article.

“At CMYK we got to see how the design process works. We were taught the basics of using Quark magazine design software as well as being taught how to put a magazine page together. We also did some writing at CMYK for one of their magazines. It was amazing to see how much skill is involved in coming up with good designs for magazines and how every little detail counts.

“As well as the work experience, we also managed to squeeze in time for some retail therapy and a trip to the cinema while we were away! We are very thankful to everyone at TESS and CMYK for letting us work with them, as it was truly a great experience. We’d also like to thank our teachers at Brae High who organised the trip and PPA Scotland for giving us the opportunity.”

Post Office consultation

Plans to relocate the current “hosted” post office service at Hillswick from the local hall to the newly-opened community-owned shop in the village have taken a step forward. Post Office Ltd has now written to local community representatives explaining the move and seeking views on the relocation. If a final decision is taken to proceed, relocation to the shop would take place during March 2010. At this time, relocation would not mean any changes to the current service.

Hillswick lost a full-time post office service last year and, despite political and community campaigns to keep the status quo, full-time hours were replaced by an outreach service at the local hall. This service is only available for two afternoons per week. For many people in the community this means they cannot access the service as the hours do not coincide with public transport or meet their needs. Residents fear that the unsuitable hours will make it appear that nobody wants to use the post office in Hillswick and that future of the service might be threathened.

The company behind the community buy-out of the Hillswick shop, Northmavine Community Development Company (NCDC), has been in discussions with Post Office Ltd to ascertain whether it would be possible to extend the current post office opening hours to give a better service, should the service relocate to the shop. Although there are no clear indications at this stage, Post Office Ltd has not ruled out the possibility if demand can be identified, but this is difficult given the shortcomings in the current provision.

Post Office Ltd is launching a consultation period to seek feedback from customers and other local interest groups, prior to a final decision being made. It is particularly keen to hear views on access and facilities at the new location, the proposed opening hours and any local issues specific to Hillswick. Friday 29th January is the closing date for any enquiries.

Anyone with any comments or concerns should write to Kenny Lamont, c/o Post Office Ltd, National Consultation Team, PO Box 2060, Watford, WD18 8ZW.

Meanwhile, although the Hillswick shop phone number has been the same since the phone was first installed at the Post Office there many decades ago, the service providers, in their wisdom, have changed the number during the recent business changeover. Eileen Mullay and her team at the shop can now be contacted on (01806) 503767.

Festive feast at Vidlin

Recently, the Vidlin over-60s were the guests of the Vidlin hall committee at a most enjoyable Christmas party in the local hall.

After a most delicious meal, guests made their way through to the small hall where entertainment was provided for everyone. This year the Westside Fiddle and Accordion Group treated the crowd to some toe-tapping tunes during the evening. The addition of three young, enthusiastic musicians to the group kept everyone amused and folk agreed that singer for the evening, Ian Kennedy, was in fine voice. Santa made an early appearance bearing gifts of sweeties for the assembled guests. A spokeswoman for the over-60s group said: “This had been a wonderful start to the festivities and the guests showed their appreciation to everyone for such a splendid treat by their sustained applause.”

Curry for Christmas

Funds for the Ollaberry bairns’ Christmas party have now increased by the magnificent total of £901.50, thanks to a curry night in the hall a fortnight ago.

The event was a real team effort with a large section of the community chipping in to ensure the evening was a real success. The impressive range of tasty curries was enhanced by the arrival of a “bunny balti”, much to the delight of a hungry crowd! In addition, numerous stalls and a local auction helped organisers make sure that Santa has something special for the ever-expanding number of bairns in Ollaberry this year.

Marie Smith and Genene Ramsay would like to thank all the curry makers, kitchen helpers, servers and everyone who manned the stalls. They would also like to say a special thanks to everyone who came along to support the event.

WRVS in Northmavine

The WRVS social club in Northmavine continues every second Wednesday over the winter. The event is open to anyone over the age of 60, or folk with reduced mobility, and offers a chance for people to socialise over a cup of tea and a biscuit. The club meets from 3-5pm on Wednesday 30th December in Hillswick hall, 13th January in North Roe hall and 10th February in Hillswick hall.

For more information please contact the WRVS office on (01595) 743915 or email

Delting Christmas services

“Jesus is the reason for the season”: that’s the Christmas message from Delting Parish Church of Scotland this year. The Rev Bob MacGregor, minister for the North Mainland, is once again gearing up for a busy time.

On Thursday night at 6.30pm there will be a carol service at North Haven Care Centre to begin the church festive calendar. Next Sunday the childen’s nativity and prize giving will take place in the Brae kirk at 10am, followed by a candlelight service at Voe kirk at 7pm. The Brae kirk will also be open on Tuesday 22nd December from 6-8pm for folk to add messages to the remembrance tree in the church again this year.

Christmas Eve sees a candlelight service at Mossbank Kirk at 7pm, with a candlelight watchnight service in the Brae kirk at 11.15pm. The retiring offering at Brae will be in aid of the homeless.  The Voe kirk will hold a special Christmas Day service at 11am and, finally, a United Parish candlelight service will take place in the Muckle Roe kirk at 3pm on Sunday 27th.


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