Nothing gets to be 250 years old without having a few adventures along the way. This is very much the case for Shetland oldest legal school, Happyhansel, located in Walls.
And whilst the school has relocated to a more central part of Walls and the original school building has become a dwelling house, the name lives on.
This weekend has seen a jubilant celebration of that name; remembered in words and music and cake!
On Friday evening, many pairs of hands belonging to the members of the Waas History Group were busy at the Walls Hall pinning up pictures and texts as well as setting tables in readiness for the big event.
On Saturday a steady stream of visitors arrived throughout the day to study the main attraction, photographs, the earliest of which is thought to date as far back as 1888. It was those the mid 1950’s through to recent times that attracted the greatest interest. Throughout the day such comments as, ‘Does du mind her?’ or ‘I ken da face but I canna mind his name.’ could be heard up and down the display boards.
This was a multi-media event. A video of events featuring some of the children from the early 1970’s was being streamed in one corner of the hall and the stage had been set up to be a classroom from 1893 complete with chalk board and desks. Tailors’ dummies had been dressed in the style of the time to show the teacher and pupils.
On Sunday afternoon when the hall was opened for afternoon teas and a further opportunity for people to peruse the displays things got very busy indeed.
During the afternoon, former breaktime supervisor, Frieda Irvine, was joined by two of the School’s youngest pupils, Amy Fleck and Isla Duncan, to cut a cake. It had been baked and decorated by former pupils Sarah Hazel and Jodie Walterson. The cake was donated by the Waas Bakery.
Later in the afternoon, The Walls Community Choir was joined by two former pupils Christine DeLuca and CJ Vaughn to sing the Happyhansel School song. They were accompanied on keyboard by another former pupil, Iris Sandison.
The Waas History Group and friends must be commended on such a magnificent event.
by Doug Forrest