25 Years Ago

Selective strike action by teachers will hit seven Shetland schools on Thursday. Members of the Educational Institute of Scotland have voted nine to one to withdraw their labour as part of the union’s campaign for an independent review of teachers’ pay.

Fifty-five teachers are expected to be out at Mid Yell, Aith and Sandwick junior high schools and at Sound, Ollaberry, Olnafirth and Quarff primary schools. The vote to strike was unanimous at all the schools except Sound and Sandwick, according to Mr Bill Anderson, secretary of the local EIS association.

Earlier this month the education commitee reaffirmed its support for the teachers’ campaign. Mr Robin Barnes, the director of education, said of the Government’s pay offer: “I don’t think it’s suitable at all.”

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It has been a busy week at Sullom Voe. Despite berthing suspensions totalling just over 24 hours, 17 tankers were loaded with 1,211,000 tonnes of oil and 31,280 tonnes of liquid petroleum gas.

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Seventy-eight seabirds covered in thick oil were found dead on beaches at Sand Wick and Urafirth in Northmavine at the weekend as SIC pollution staff cleared up patches of bunker oil washed ashore in high winds.

During the clean-up 156 bags of contaminated sand and seaweed were removed. The source of the oil, found in patches about the size of soup plates, is unknown. Council pollution officer, Captain Jim Dickson, said it could have been at sea for months before being washed ashore.

50 Years Ago

A public meeting between the Education Committee and parents in the Dunrossness district will be held soon to discuss the proposal to centralise schools in the district.

At Monday night’s Education Committee meeting, Mr Henderson moved and Mr Eunson seconded that the people of Dunrossness have indicated by a firm majority vote that they are not in favour of centralisation. A delegation from the main Education Committee should meet the Dunrossness parents at a public meeting.

Mr J. L. Matches moved that the Education Committee should not proceed any further with the centralisation meantime.

Mr R. A. Anderson thought the proposal should be of a little more importance to the members of the committee than they were apparently treating it. Who said the time was not ripe? The decision was not one they should finally accept until they had had a reasonable chance of exploring the whole matter.

There were very considerable economics involved in the project. There were three schools, which all had to be altered, rebuilt, and brought up to line – a very extensive programme for the south mainland.

On the other hand they had the opportunity of solving the economics of this by making a central school in an area which was very densely populated in comparison with any other area in Shetland. This was probably the only area which was ripe for this at the moment.

Even if they took the children from the extreme end of the district and built a school at the other end, they would not be travelling as far as half the children in Yell.

The amendment to meet the people approved by fifteen votes to three.

100 Years Ago

Sea Monster Seen off Noss – Narrow Escape of Haddock Boat – Fishermen’s Alarming Experience – Three fishermen, the crew of a small haddock boat, had a very alarming experience on Tuesday morning, being threatened with attack by a gigantic fish, the like of which they had never seen before.

They were fishing at the time on the North Sands of Noss. Two of the crew were at the oars, while the skipper was hauling in the lines. Suddenly one of the oarsmen descried a monster fish some little distance off. It was making at great speed straight for the boat, which was a small open craft of only sixteen feet in length.

The oarsmen was very much alarmed, since the monster was at least twice the length of the boat, and rushed up to within a few feet of them, as if threatening to overwhelm them immediately. They called to the skipper to cut or break away the lines at once, in order to save them from instant destruction. Before this could be done, however, the great sea monster swerved in its course and glanced along the side at scarcely an oar’s-length distance, and after remaining a little time close to them and very threatening in appearance it swam off.

None of them has ever seen a fish like it before, although they are all elderly men and familiar with the fishing in the waters of the whole Scotch coast. As it passed along the side of the craft, they saw it had two large fins on its back, one close to the head, and the other well on towards the tail. The head fin was shaped something like the blade of a ship’s propeller. Between the fins the back seemed to be considerably indented.

When the men landed, which they did considerably shaken by the alarming experience, they were shown a picture of a basking shark, but they positively stated it was unlike the monster they had seen, especially as the basking shark’s back is curved outwards, while the back of the giant they saw had an inward curve. In all their experience they never saw a fish like it.

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Death of Shetlander in Alaska – On Friday 12th August, John Sharp, aged 24, eldest son of the late Peter Sharp, of Hillhead, Ollaberry, died as the result of an accident. The following is an extract from a letter containing the news of his death, received from Mr Eustace Paul Ziegler, missionary in charge of St George’s Mission, Cordova, Alaska: – “On Thursday August 11, John Sharp and some of his companions, after work was done were racing on a hand car, when his car jumped the track at Mile 52 on the Copper Ridge Railway. John Sharp fell on his head and fractured his skull. This occurred at 8 p.m.: he died at 12.30 a.m. on Friday 12th August. He did not regain consciousness. John Sharp was greatly beloved by all his companions and had hosts of friends. He was a generous, noble young man of fine principle, a hard worker and of lovable disposition. I left Cordova for Mile 50, where his camp was at Miles Glacier,” says Mr Ziegler, “and held service at the camp at eight o’clock on Friday evening. The whole camp attended the service. The next day we left with the remains for Cordova, seven of his companions going too. We buried him in the Cordova cemetery.”


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