Views from the Scord

Farewell to Colin

Scalloway Junior High School bid a fond farewell to deputy head Colin Nicol this week as he departs Shetland for pastures new. Colin left on Friday bound for a new post on the Scottish mainland with Angus Council.

Mr Nicol has, in recent years, been a prominent, popular and dynamic member of staff at Scalloway school and he himself describes the move as “a big wrench to leave such a wonderful school”. His move is a promotion to the post of a quality improvement officer with Angus Council and he is relocating to live in Forfar.

Colin first came to Scalloway Junior High school in the early ‘90s into the role of history teacher. During his time he set up a website on the subject of the Shetland Bus wartime operations which is still used to this day as a source of information for anyone interested in Shetland’s important role in World War II.

For a number of years he also worked as an assistant adviser for the education service of the SIC before returning to Scalloway once again to the role of deputy head in 2005.

One of Colin’s main interests in recent times has been the introduction of the Eco schools programme to Scalloway and he has steered the school to achieving the award of two flags and towards the third and highest Green Flag.

Described by head teacher Joyce Gear as “a committed member” of staff across both secondary and primary departments, the school had two presentation ceremonies to acknowledge his work. The first was made by the staff at a function held in his honour and the second at a special assembly of the school, organised by the pupils and where various gifts and tributes to him were made.

Speaking after the tributes made by the pupils, he reflected: “I’m going to miss them all so very much. They are a credit to the school and to the community as a whole. I know each and every one of them, they are lovely bairns.”

The tributes took various forms, with poetry written in his honour, songs sung by the choir, a hand-decorated and inscribed book from the Primary 1 pupils and another filled with cartoons from the older pupils as well as other presents and handmade cards from pupils and cards and gifts from staff, including a digital radio “to listen to the cricket”!

“There are so many positive things happening at the school, it’s a fantastic school with a great staff team,” he said and promised to keep in touch with the school from his new location, particularly in the next few months as his gradual relocation will mean he will be to and fro several times until the move is complete.

Looking to the future, Mr Nicol’s new role will be more of a strategic and support post for several schools in the Angus area and he will help them in improving the services they provide for pupils. “I’m looking forward to the challenges of the new job. I’ll be working with a group of schools and it will be a very different focus from my role here, it will bring new challenges and opportunities.” And, in reference to the future challenges faced by the education service in Shetland, he said he was leaving “hoping all goes well for Scalloway with the Blueprint [for Education] consultation”.

Staff and pupils of the school wish him every success in his new post, which he started on Monday this week.

Football history and the story of Perfecto de la Fuente

In a timely coincidence of events between here and Edinburgh, and between now, the 70s oil boom and the early 1900s, a fascinating aspect of local football history arose this week. A chance conversation by a Shetlander living and working in Edinburgh with a local taxi driver prompted discussions of the locally awarded Madrid Cup for football and its origins.

Cunningsburgh man John Smith, who works as financial IT consultant in the nation’s capital, got chatting to a cabbie while travelling between meetings and it arose that the driver was not only familiar with Shetland, but had resided here during the oil boom era in one of the North Mainland camps erected for the construction phase of the Sullom Voe Terminal. As a continuation of the driver’s reminiscences on his time in Shetland, he recalled being a member of a football team that won the incongruously named Madrid Cup that year. This, he believed, had been presented as a trophy for the local game by a Spanish fish worker residing here.

Jumping to Scalloway in the present time, this led to an inquiry regarding the cup to local football stalwart Grant Gilfillan who is currently researching and archiving football memorabilia and photos for the Scalloway team over the past century or more. During his research in recent years a photo of a victorious Scalloway team came to light, depicting one Perfecto de la Fuente as a member, taken sometime prior to the formation of the current Shetland Football Association in 1919.

Perfecto de la Fuente, as it turns out, was a fishworker or buyer working in Scalloway during that era and, together with local man Lewis J Garriock, he had presented the Madrid Cup toward local football competitions in the year 1908. The cup was named for Perfecto’s home town of Madrid and all this is in keeping with the description provided by the Edinburgh cabbie who was here some 30 years ago during his conversation with John Smith last week. Details of winners of the trophy are scarce for the early pre-war years but records show it has it has been played for every year since the formation of the association in 1919, excepting the war years.

The photo is of particular interest to Grant at the moment as he is keen to identify the year, the unknown team members pictured and the cup that they have won. He has already run the photo past Jim Peterson, who wrote the History of Shetland Football, and he was unable to identify the featured cup. If you think you could assist with this, or have any other memorabilia or photos relating to the history of Scalloway FC, Grant would be delighted to hear from you. All photos would be scanned and returned immediately.

As Grant says, there are other photos in existence that portray unidentified fish workers, but this is the only one depicting Perfecto, whose influence on local football competitions (along with that of Lewis J Garriock) remains evident over 100 years later.

There is more of the fascinating and illustrious history of the Scalloway FC on the club website at You can contact Grant either directly or through this column or the club website.

Harbour news

It was a fairly quiet period in the Port of Scalloway during the seven days to Monday this week. The Ronja Settler remains busy in the area for Scottish Sea Farms. The Fugro Meridian called in to load fresh water before departing the port, bound for the area of the Clair Field, west of Shetland. The Nassau-registered survey vessel has made a number of visits to Scalloway in recent years.

Salmon cage construction was under way again in the Muckle Yard, with three cages launched last week. The large stack of pipe sections from broken up cages awaiting re-assembly is indicative of the work still to be carried out there in forthcoming weeks. Shellfish harvest continued this week with two producers landing approximately 30 tons of mussels for onward process and shipping.

White fish landings were a good average through the Scalloway fish market in the week to Friday with a total of 1,854 boxes from a variety of vessels. The Defiant, Radiant Star, Venturous, Comrades, Prevail, Tranquillity and Athena all used the market, although some of Thursday’s and all of Friday’s landings were brought to the market by truck from Cullivoe. The Radiant Star’s catch on Monday was also brought by truck from either Cullivoe or West Burrafirth. There were no landings last Tuesday.

Calendar appeal

At a forthcoming meeting of the Burra History Group on 7th April they will be selecting photos for their 2011 calendar. Their popular calendar, printed each year, traditionally shows a historical selection of familiar places and faces from Burra and surrounding areas and they would be “aaful blyde” if folk would “hock among” their photos and see if they find any suitable images they could lend to the group for publishing.

Another upcoming event for the history group is their regular “makkin night” for March, which this month will be held on the 26th in the Easthouse heritage centre at Duncansclate. All are welcome to these popular social evenings and anyone requiring a lift can contact Sylvia Jamieson on (01595) 859209.

Mark Burgess


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