All of Shetland Amenity Trust’s big annual events will be postponed until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Shetland Boat Week, Shetland Nature Festival and Shetland Wool Week will now no longer take place in 2020.
The nature festival was due to take place in July this year and boat week in August. Wool week was due to take place later in the year, at the end of September and into early October.
Amenity trust head of engagement Sandy Middleton said: “We are so sorry to be cancelling our key events for this year.
“We had hoped that we might be able to go ahead with wool week as it is so late in the year. However, as the situation has evolved it has become increasingly clear that it cannot go ahead.
“It is not simply about the event itself but all of the time, effort and money that goes into preparing for it throughout the year. The event is a huge economic boost to Shetland during the autumn months and we know the cancellation will cause concern for local businesses who are already facing immense challenges.
“With so many of our participants coming from overseas for the event, however, it became clear that it would not be feasible or responsible to try and continue with it.”
Ms Middleton said the team at the trust had been working on wool week 2020 since last year and had had a great response from across Shetland and beyond in helping to develop the programme of events.
Much of the programme for the event had already been put together and the trust hoped that as much of it as possible would be taken forward into the 2021 event.
The amenity trust was also working with the wool week committee to explore options for bringing some of the event online and delivering classes and events virtually, Ms Middleton said.
The patron for the event was announced last month as Wilma Malcolmson and it has been agreed that she will continue as patron for next year. Her hat pattern for wool week 2020 was launched on 27th March and has already been downloaded over 27,000 times.
Ms Middleton said: “Like so many others, Shetland Amenity Trust is facing a significant loss of income this year due the closure of our visitor attractions, cancellation of events and closure of our light house and camping böd accommodation.
“We launched an online donations page along with the free wool week hat pattern this year asking people to support the trust through this difficult time if they could. So far the response has been really positive and shows how much people value the event and our wider work.”
Shetland Amenity Trust has now been in touch with sponsors, event providers, and event participants to advise them of the postponed events.
To find out more about supporting the trust, its work and events see the website for details at www.shetlandamenity.org.