Family in search of a bi-plane for much-loved Alistair

A family has launched an unusual plea in order to carry out a loved one’s dying wishes.

Former Sumburgh Airport employee Alistair Stenton declared his wish that his ashes be “blasted” from the back of a bi-plane and scattered at Spiggie Loch.

The ex-Alidair and British Air Ferries worker, from Ellon in Aberdeenshire, lived in Dunrossness from 1979-1985.

He later worked for Offshore Helicopter Services in Aberdeen, but died in Roxburghe House hospice in Aberdeen on 29th August, five days after his 62nd birthday.

Alistair had been diagnosed with osophagael cancer a year ago.

Now, relatives hope someone can help fulfil his unusual wish, which was requested in his will.

Relatives say his love affair with Shetland began on a family holiday from Edinburgh in the early 1970s, and was cemented when his father Ken took up a post with the Civil Aviation Authority at Sumburgh.

Alistair was hooked, not just because of the fly-fishing for trout which he relished, but because of “the people” in Shetland.

“He saw Shetlanders as special,” his brother Andrew said, adding: “In fact all the family did.”

The connection with the isles was so strong that, when Ken and his wife Belle died in 2001, Alistair and Andrew and their wives flew north to scatter their ashes in Shetland.

“We stayed at Sumburgh Lighthouse but had no real idea what we were going to do with the ashes,” said Andrew.

“Alistair suggested Spiggie Loch and then his imagination took off.

“We found an empty cardboard box in a cupboard at the lighthouse keeper’s cottage and began building a boat.

“Fairy liquid bottles found a home, laces were transformed into ropes, toilet rolls and hankies into funnels and flags. It was real Blue Peter stuff.

“Next day we set out for the loch, launched the boat, lit a little pyre with the ashes on the deck and pushed it out into the water. Eventually it burst into flames and sank…Up-Helly-A’!”

However, the family now face an even bigger challenge –  to source a bi-plane necessary to scatter Alistair’s ashes.

Alistair’s funeral is at Dyce Parish Church in Aberdeen on Wednesday 13th September.

His family is still trying to work out how to fulfil his final request.

• Read full story in this week’s Shetland Times.


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