A former member and a current member of the fire crew at Sumburgh Airport have reason to feel proud, for very different reasons.
George Farquhar was recently promoted to chief fire officer for Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL), based in Inverness, while Rae Simpson will be Guizer Jarl at next year’s Lerwick Up-Helly-A’ festival.
Mr Farquhar was brought up in Hoswick and educated at Sandwick Junior High School. After leaving school he joined the family building business Farquhar & Jamieson where he worked for 19 years.
At the age of 34 he felt it was time for a change of direction as the building trade in Shetland was going through a period of uncer-tainty. He had always been inter-ested in the emergency services, being a member of the local coastguard cliff rescue team for over 20 years, and in the summer of 1997 he joined the HIAL team at Sumburgh as a firefighter.
After spending eight years at Sumburgh Mr Farquhar moved up to the rank of sub-officer, and had progressed as far as possible with his career in Shetland. He was appointed to the position of station officer at Inverness and after four years in that role became airport fire manager at Inverness earlier this year.
Mr Farquhar said: “The role of chief fire officer has many chal-lenges particularly as the aviation industry like many other industries in the UK is going through a period of recession.
“I am committed to ensuring the airport fire services within HIAL are commercial aware, diverse and continue to deliver the very highest level of service to the travelling public at each of our locations.”
Meanwhile Mr Simpson, who has been a firefighter since March 1997, is the third generation of jarls in his family. His grandfather Thomas Simpson was Guizer Jarl in 1968 and his father, Magnus Simpson, led the Lerwick pro-cession in 1987.
Accompanying him in the 2010 Jarl’s Squad will be Mr Farquhar, along with Sumburgh colleagues Michael Reid, Billy Johnson and Stuart Jamieson.
Sumburgh Airport manager Nigel Flaws said: “We are all very proud of Rae and his colleagues for all the hard work and commitment that they have given to the pre-paration for the event next year while still being on duty at the airport. We know the design and style for the costumes and galley are a well-kept secret but knowing the way Rae is, I know they will be a huge success.”
Mr Simpson added: “It has been a fantastic year in the preparation for the event in January and I am very grateful to everyone who is working with me to bring it all together.
“HIAL have accommodated my need to grow my beard as tradition requires by moving my duties to be more appropriate during this very busy period. I am really looking forward to our event at the end of January.”