Times Past

25 Years Ago

Shetland Islands Council will have to cut its expenditure by over £1 million to keep within government spending guidelines, director of finance Mr Malcolm Green has warned.

In a report to be considered by the resources committee Mr Green said early estimates of what committees wanted to spend on services in 1985/6 totalled £23 million – £ 1,067,000 over the guideline. If savings were not made he expects the government to punish the SIC by cutting rate support grant by an estimated £3.73 million.

Instead of cutting services the council could pay for them by increasing the level of general rates by 16p. However Mr Green said it was unlikely the government would allow that. As it is the general rate is likely to increase from 123p to 135p in April, an increase of 10 per cent. Mr Green estimated that the council would need to raise £32,293,400 from the general rate. An alternative option to maintain services at their present level and remain within spending guidelines is to use money in the reserve fund and charitable trust.

If £1.076 million from the two funds were used to maintain services, Mr Green said, this would also bring the increase in the general rate down by 4p. However he warned that there was increasing pressure on the reserve fund and charitable trust with spending at the present level.

50 Years Ago

Through bravery and fearlessness a Cullivoe fisherman was able to save the life of a fellow crew member when he fell into the sea last Wednesday night. But the rescuer was a shy hero and the crew went quietly home after the episode. News of the rescue only leaked out by accident in Lerwick on Monday.

It was dark on Wednesday night with quite a bit of swell running as the Cullivoe seine net boat St Vincent dragged for fish north of Yell. James B Spence (49), brother of the skipper Andrew Spence, moved forward to remove a piece of rope from the winch. As he stepped over the hatch the boat rolled badly and staggering back on to some baskets he toppled headfirst into the sea.

Without a moment’s hesitation Robert Anderson (31), the only crew member who could swim, leapt into the dark waters to try to reach his friend. He had no time to take off his boots and oilskins but he managed to reach James who was floating with his head and legs underwater.

Skipper Spence immediately put the boat out of gear and ran her astern. It was touch and go but he succeeded in getting alongside the two struggling men in the water and catching them with a boat hook.

James was hauled on board first while Robert held on to a rope until the crew got him back safe as well.

James had swallowed a lot of water but after a few moments of lying on deck he was able to sit up.

Had it not been for the prompt and brave action of Robert Anderson it is doubtful that the rest of the crew would have been able to find James in the dark in time to save him.

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Top Five at The Music Box, 116 Commercial Street.

1. Why by Frankie Avalon at 6/- 2. Among My Souvenirs by Connie Francis at 6/- 3. El Paso by Marty Robbins at 6/4 4. Bonnie Lass of Fyvie by Joe Gordon Folk Four at 6 /- 5. A Voice in the Wilderness by Cliff Richard at 6/-

100 Years Ago

The guizing fraternity are going forward with the preparations for the celebration of the ancient festival of “Up helly A” with the utmost enthusiasm. Rumour has it that the dresses are to be of a most elaborate style, some of them being ordered from London. The huge galley, which will grace the head of the procession, is almost built, and is a fine specimen of the Norse Viking ship. The “Docks Boys” are going strong this season, and are constructing a model of the latest addition to the Dreadnought class in the British Navy, the St Vincent. The building of the ship is now well advanced. Besides the private houses that will be open, we understand arrangements have been made to have the Town Hall, the Rechabite Hall, the Masonic Hall, and the North End Hall open for the reception of the guizers. Certainly, the guizers and their friends are looking forward to having a good time of it, and we hope their best hopes will be fully realised.

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Mr Thomas W. Hemsley, the Unionist working man candidate for the suffrage of the electors in the County of Orkney and Shetland, has evidently come back from his unsuccessful tour in the country districts soured in temper, and with a natural wish to shove off his feelings on the shoulders of somebody else. Accordingly, at the meeting of his loyal henchman in the Lerwick Town Hall on Friday evening last, in his speech, which lasted an hour, he devoted fully 25 minutes of the time – in talking of politics and the great affairs of the state? – oh dear no! but in begging for sympathy from his audience on account of his bleeding wounds, inflicted, as he alleged, by articles in this paper. We trust the Unionists in the country are sufficiently satisfied with a candidate sent down here to uphold the “great truths of Unionism”, whose sense of fitness is such that he devotes half of his valuable time to the ventilation of personal grievances, which we deny have the slightest foundation in fact. Mr Hemsley, with his “last three years’ experience” of political elections, is no doubt aware of the use of a good grievance for eliciting sympathy on his side, but he had better wait till he gets a real one and not give us the shoddy stuff.


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