Two Shetland women recognised in Queen’s birthday honours list

Two women have been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Jessie Hartley – known as Greta – has been awarded the BEM for services to the community following 36 years as a postmistress at Hamnavoe.

The 70 year-old from Burra is said to have provided a service “far beyond that expected from a public servant”, according to a case study sent by the Scottish government.

Meanwhile, Valerie Johnson – a director of Frankie’s Fish and Chips in Brae – has also been made an Order of the British Empire.

Mrs Hartley, who has now retired, said she thought her knees would go from under her when she heard the news.

“To be quite honest, I was absolutely overwhelmed,” she said.

To be quite honest, I was absolutely overwhelmed – GRETA HARTLEY

“When I saw the letter I wondered what the heck it was when I saw ‘urgent and personal’ and the cabinet office on the front.

“When I opened it I nearly had to read it twice before it sunk in. I thought my knees were going to go from under me. I couldn’t believe it.

“As far as I’m concerned I’ve just done my job as best I can all my life, and didn’t think I was doing anything other than usual. I feel honoured. I’d love to ken who put me forward, because I don’t know who that is, and thank them, whoever they are.”
The case study lists Mrs Hartley as “a thoughtful and caring family member” and says her actions “have been reflected in the conscientious way she has gone about her work in the service of the people of Hamnavoe.

“She was also the Registrar until the service was centralised, during which time she married around a dozen couples from the area and recorded the new life and sad losses of the folk on Burra,” it adds.

“On this aspect she went out of her way to be sensitive to people’s needs. Two years ago she announced she’d like to retire but ever mindful of the needs of the community she hung on in the hope that some arrangement could be arrived at whereby Hamnavoe would retain its Post Office.

“The respect in which she’s held was evident in the presentation made to her on her last day, as a result of a collection organised by the local community council. Shetland is known for its’ harsh winters and her service at times of heavy snow exemplify her dedication to the community, especially the older people.”

Meanwhile, Mrs Johnson has been recognised for services to the food and drink industry in the isles.

Valerie Johnson from Frankie's Fish and Chips in Brae.
Valerie Johnson from Frankie’s Fish and Chips in Brae.

The 53 year-old has gained the recognition after Frankie’s – which employs seven full time staff and 15 part time – won an array of awards, including being named top chip shop in national awards last year.

“I’m pleased, not for myself but for all the staff who have made Frankie’s the success it has become,” she said.

“I hope the award is also recognition of the fantastic work done by the fish catching and shellfish industries in Shetland – without the supreme quality of sustainable seafood they produce we would not have been able to achieve what we have with Frankie’s.

“It also reflects well on the community here in Shetland which has been fantastically supportive of what we have done, not only with the shop but when it comes to the charity and other events that we have been involved in over the years.”

The shop opened in 2008 after her husband got fed up having to go to Lerwick, a 50-mile round trip for a fish supper.

Ninety-eight per cent of the fish and shellfish sold comes from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accredited stocks.

But there has also been recognition for the chip-shop’s success in charitable efforts.

The 2015 Frankie’s Charity Cycle Sportive raised £6,600, with proceeds split between the Fishermen’s Mission, Cancer Research UK and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Since it began in 2011, the Frankie’s Cycle Sportive has raised almost £27,000 for charities. And for the past three years they have held a charity seafood weekend in support of the Mission.

In 2015 it donated £800, shared by Anthony Nolan and The ARCHIE Foundation, raised from a calendar featuring primary school pupils’ drawings of seafood.

The headline photo shows Valerie with (from left) three of her four daughters Rowan, Carlyn Kearney and Nikita when they were presented with the number one fish and chip shop award.


Add Your Comment
  • Archie Bryce Arbuckle

    • June 11th, 2016 11:30

    What a fantastic achievement for these two ladies. Their families must be very proud. My heartiest congratulations.


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