Long-serving Edna hangs up her hostess hat

Long-serving Edna Burke has worked her last shift as an Up-Helly-A’ hostess.

Edna Burke (right) with fellow TA Hall/Clickimin Bowls Hall hostess Carole Flaws. Photo: Garry Sandison
Edna Burke (right) with fellow TA Hall/Clickimin Bowls Hall hostess Carole Flaws. Photo: Garry Sandison

The former Shetland Times Bookshop manageress Edna Burke has lost track of the years she’s been a hostess on Up-Helly-A’ night.

For a long time she was at the TA Hall and then, last year, came the move to the Clickimin Bowls Hall.

She feels it is time, after what she thinks is 38 years, to hand over her share. She will do so to some of the “lovely young hostesses”.

There are lots of them, she says, “young guests and they’re very happy with hall and its facilities”.

There’s no disguising Edna’s appreciation of the event; she loves it. “Waking up in morning, there’s magic in the air, like the night before Christmas,” she says.

One thought which led to her stepping down from being a hostess (but she will not be stopping attending on the night) was the thought that she had served with four generations of the same family.

She has certainly seen a lot of changes over the years, mostly for the better. That was brought home to her when Ian and Yvonne Duff from Inverness returned to the isles after 21 years – he had been based at Fort Charlotte as permanent staff instructor (PSI).

They were amazed by the quality of the acts on this Up-Helly-A’ night compared to back in the day at the TA Hall. Edna pointed out the move Clickimin was the right one – the staff at Clickimin were great to work with.

Edna, who retired a few years ago from the bookshop, still works as a tourist guide during the cruise ship season.


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