North Mainland Notes

Successful pantomime at Ollaberry school

Ollaberry School bairns in Primaries 1-7 performed their panto, Hansel and Gretel, last Tuesday to an appreciative audience at the Ollaberry Hall. The cast included six peerie trows, Len Hur (a hero), twins Hansel and Gretel, their sensible sister Freda, gorgeous Dame Betty their mother, the short-sighted Constable Painting, bungling builders Short and Sweet and the Gingerbread witch.

The bairns and school staff would like to thank everyone who supported them on the night or bought raffle tickets for the grand draw and also those who made homebakes and donations. The total raised was £1,165.57. This will be used for the school fund.

Boyz Aloud reunited

The Wrultizers FC event in the Northern Lights Function Room on Sunday from 9pm promises to be an entertaining evening.

Boyz Aloud, “Brae’s number one super group”, is reunited for the Christmas holiday and will be making a much-anticipated festive appearance. Tickets cost £5 and are available from the Northern Lights, Brae Garage or your nearest Wrultizer.

Ollaberry dance

Folk will have a chance to work off any weight excess caused by over indulgence at Christmas on Tuesday when the Ollaberry hall is holding the annual Christmas supper dance.

The event will begin at 8pm with music from Fradenr Gamla. The supper dance is a pay at the door event – entry costs £5 for adults, £3 for under-18s and under-fives are free. The bar will be open so an adult must accompany anyone under 18.

Festive break at Good as New

Volunteers at the Good as New shop in the Brae Youth Centre are having a well-earned break over the festive period.

The shop has seen a busy year and has once again raised lots of funds to help benefit many local charities and groups.

A spokeswoman for the volunteers said: “We would like to thank all those who have supported us during the year and wish all our customers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We look forward to welcoming old customers and new when we reopen in mid January.”

Valuable website

Back in the early noughties, during the community consultation for the Initiative at the Edge scheme in Northmavine, folk expressed an idea that a website should be created to let everyone know what the area had to offer and act as a place for snippets of news and information about Northmavine.

Alan MacDonald, one of the community members behind the website project, summed the aim up nicely. It was to be “a project to benefit our community and let others experience the quality of life our community has to offer”.

The initial idea grew, and with the help of local web designer, Fiona Cope, a website consisting of a few pages became a really valuable resource that covered every aspect of the Northmavine community, and comprised an ever-increasing number of pages. was born in August 2006 and, in addition to the website, a forum was also added where folk from all over the world could “yarn” in a “virtual Northmavine’. The forum is a friendly place that offers a space for folk to get in touch. Since the launch, numerous friendships have been forged with folk throughout the world, as well as locally.

Almost 1,000 topics have been discussed over the years and the information exchange has enriched many lives in lots of ways.

Holidays to Northmavine have benefited from a more personal touch when one forum member was able to lend a bicycle to a man from Germany who expressed a desire to cycle in the area as part of his holiday. Accommodation has been found for people wishing to buy or rent property in Northmavine, while folk whose families emigrated or left Northmavine for the UK mainland several generations ago have now been put in touch with relatives who still live in the area. And the list goes on.

Recently a forum discussion on the closure and subsequent re-opening of the Hillswick Shop included a number of very interesting posts. One item came from a person in New Zealand whose relations had left Shetland in the early 1900s.

“Hearty congratulations to all concerned with the refurbishment and reopening of the Hillswick Shop.

“My great-grandfather, William Robertson, was for many years the manager of the Hillswick shop (in those days situated in da Bod), where he worked from 1870 until 1904, when he and his family left their home, Snabuil, just up the hill from the shop, to emigrate to New Zealand.

“He was succeeded by William Manson, who had been a boarder in the Robertson home at Snabuil and had been employed at the shop since 1888.

“I was privileged to enjoy a meal in da Bod of today during my only visit to Shetland in 2005, and visited the shop as it was at that time.

“It is very good to see that Hillswick people have been able to pull together, not only just to revive what has been a very longstanding institution in Hillswick, but also to make it a very attractive and friendly place at the heart of the community. I wish it every success for the future.”

John and Hazel Muir, owners of the shop until the late 1970s, also found the forum discussion and posted a message in which they said that they “are very glad that the shop has re-opened for business again”.

The Muirs also said that they would like to wish everyone success for the future and that they recognised many of the folk from the photos on the forum – especially Anna and Eileen!

Both the website and the forum help to bring Northmavine to a worldwide audience in a way that folk such as William Robertson, when he left Shetland for New Zealand, could never have imagined.

Merry Christmas

This is now my second Christmas compiling North Mainland Notes, and it seems no time since my first.

I’d like to thank everyone who has helped put together ideas and stories over the past year – it always amazes me that we’ve managed to find stories to fill every week since I started in July 2008 and is a testament to the sterling work that goes on in the North Mainland.

I hope everyone has a happy Christmas and that Santy is good to you all.

Maree Hay


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