Hundreds of people take part in moving World War One tribute at St Ninian’s

Hundreds of people visited St Ninian’s Isle beach on Sunday to take part in a poignant and moving tribute to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

Almost 1,000 visitors helped to create silhouettes including servicemen, munitions workers and nurses into the tombolo in the nationwide art commission curated by Danny Boyle.

The isles beauty spot was one of dozens of beaches across the UK where portraits and silhouettes of those who had died in the conflict were gently washed away with the tides.

As part of the 14-18 NOW Pages of the Sea project, visitors were given cards featuring a poem specially written by poet Carol Ann Duffy and a photograph of one the many who had lost their lives in World War One.

It is thought that almost 700 servicemen from Shetland died during the First World War, which proportionally was one the largest for any area in the UK.

Jess Hansson rakes the silhouette of a soldier into the sand. Photo: Adam Guest.

Jess Hansson, 25, was among those who was raking a silhouette into the sand.

Hailing from Tasmania, she has been working in the isles as a healthcare assistant.

She said it was a very moving experience to be stood on the beach.

“I’m pleased to see so many people joining in and remembering the fallen,” she said. “Being from an island community myself it does hit home.”

Karen Saunders, 31, was volunteering on the day.

The primary school teacher said it was heartening to see young children remembering the fallen too.

“The turn-out has been incredible,” she said.

“I think it’s really special to see so many people here just engaging in this act of commemoration and goodbye. It’s really moving and what I think is really special about it is there are lots and lots of families here. It’s something that’s inclusive.”

She added: “[For the children] it’s tactile, and it’s concrete and it’s symbolic. It’s not just reading an abstract war poem, which for children it can be hard to engage with the concept.

“We’re putting representations of people into the sand and saying goodbye to them. It’s something that’s really engaging for the next generation of bairns.”

• More in Friday’s Shetland Times.




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