With 48 hours to go, Scalloway is gearing up for the official opening of its museum by the Prime Minister of Norway, Jens Stoltenberg. Finishing touches are being made to the museum and preparations for a community parade and party are well underway.
The event will begin with a visit by Mr Stoltenberg to the Scalloway School at 9am, followed at 9.30am by a parade from the school to the Shetland Bus Memorial. The parade will be headed by members of the local pipe band followed by flag bearers from the school. It will also include Mr Stoltenberg, all children from the Scalloway School, playgroup and day care facility as well as children from the Anderson High school who previously attended Scalloway School. A number of other local groups including the Shetland Bus Friendship Society, Scalloway History Group and Scalloway Jarl’s Squad will parade as well with a large number of visiting Norwegians.
A service of remembrance for the men of the Shetland Bus will take place at 10am, including a wreath laying ceremony. The parade will then continue to the museum which Mr Stoltenberg will officially open in a ceremony commencing at 10.45am.
The community party at the Muckle Yard at the harbour will begin following the opening ceremony with a line up of live music including Jenna Reid, Maggie Adamson, Alison Ramsey, Hansel and Margaret Scollay, Sheila Henderson, Lewie Peterson and Jonny Polson, Stewart and Betty Pottinger, Colin Dewar, Claire Laurenson and Keiran Topp.
There will be a barbecue selling local fish and meat products, locally produced cakes, a bar, soft drinks, teas and coffees. There will also be a variety of side stalls and two kubb courts to provide some Viking style entertainment. Mr Stoltenberg will visit the party which will carry on until 5pm.
The Shetland Bus boats the Hitra and Heland, floating Norwegian museums Nybakk and Haugefisk, Norwegian Coastguard vessel Bergen and local vessels the Swan and Aith Lifeboat will be alongside the party at the harbour and will be open to the public. Some will also be selling Norwegian produce.
John Nicolson, secretary of the Shetland Bus Friendship Society which operates the Scalloway Museum, said: “This is a momentous occasion for both the society and the community of Scalloway. It has taken almost a decade of dedicated hard work to bring this project to life, and the museum truly is a wonderful asset for our community. We are absolutely thrilled that PM Stoltenberg is coming to the village to open the museum, a major part of which is dedicated to telling the story of the Shetland Bus, highlighting the bravery and sacrifice of all those involved. The opening day celebrations are open to everyone, so take the day off and come and join in the fun.”
The road into Scalloway will be closed from 9.15am until the parade is over, and the road to the harbour will be closed for the opening ceremony. Limited parking is available at the school and harbour, and a single file parking system will be operated in Castle Street. There will be no parking at the museum. Flags for the parade and other souvenirs will be available at the community party site from 8.30am.
A police spokesman said: “We would ask members of the community to consider the impact that these restrictions may have on their ability to get into and out of the village at these times and make appropriate alternative plans.
“Additionally, we would urge residents in the affected areas to ensure that their vehicles are removed from the road before the commencement of the closure ordrer, as police will have no option but to remove remaining vehicles at the owners’ expense.
“The police will work closely with Shetland Islands Council on the day to have roads opened at the earliest possible opportunity in order to minimise inconvenience to the community.”