Anniversary celebrations in Aith

By Adrian Darbyshire

It was a red letter day for Aith as the village celebrated no fewer than four landmark anniversaries.

Aith’s big weekend marked not only 50 years of Aith Gala and 20 years of West Mainland Leisure Centre but also the 100th anniversary of the old school and 40 years since the opening of its replacement, Aith Junior High School.

The community came out in force on Saturday to celebrate.

In the Junior High School, pupils past and present enjoyed a display of photographs and memorabilia.

Aith Public School opened in January 1922 with 27 pupils. The original wooden building was replaced with a concrete building (now the Auld Skule charity shop) in 1935.

The new Junior High School opened in August 1982.

Head teacher Michael Spence, who is himself celebrating an anniversary this year with his 10th year at the helm, said: “The exhibition has been put together over the past few months mainly by some of the many school staff and volunteers.

“We asked some parents and old school members if they would be able to send any artefacts and information to the school so we have an old school desk, old satchels, the old school bell – a lot of history.

“I think when you leave school at 16 you want to put it behind you but as you get older you reflect on the history and you see the old school trips you were on, the football teams you were in, the plays and pantos you took part in and those are the memories people have.

“It’s just a shame it couldn’t be on show for longer.”

Inside the lifeboat station, the most northerly in Britain, there was a display of photographs and souvenirs, together with a barbecue and stalls outside, to mark 50 years of Gala day.

Deputy launching authority Kevin Henry said: “Aith Gala is one the main fund-raisers for the year.”

In previous years, Gala day visitors had the chance to go on the lifeboat.

But that has not proved possible this year due to ongoing works to build a pontoon which is due for completion in October.

Coxswain John Robertson said the pontoon would make it safer for the crew to get on the boat and safer for it to set off from the pier.

In the leisure centre, meanwhile, there were free sessions in the pool, on the climbing wall and a bouncy castle in the main hall to mark 20 years since the opening of the popular venue.

Afternoon tea in Aith Hall was due to be followed in the evening by a family supper dance.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.