Whalsay woman named an unsung hero

A Whalsay woman has received a national award in recognition of decades of dedication to the isle’s riding club.

Roselyn Fraser became a member of Whalsay Riding Club during the 1980s before taking on a role to help run the club in 1999.

Mrs Fraser travelled down to the Stirling Agricultural Centre on Sunday to collect the Unsung Hero Award from The British Horse Society Scotland (BHS).

“I was honoured and touched that somebody has gone to the trouble of nominating me when I was just doing the volunteering I would’ve been doing anyway,” she told The Shetland Times.

Mrs Fraser was born with a love for horses, which led to her getting a pony of her own when she became a teenager.

“We didn’t have ponies when I was peerie, but I believe that I was born with an absolute passion for horses,” she said.

“I was obsessed with horses when I was peerie. I loved the sight, the smell and the sound of them.

“I was 13 before I wore wir folk down to get my first Shetland pony, and I’ve had one ever since.”

One aspect of Mrs Fraser’s voluntary role she particularly enjoys is seeing young people develop through their lessons.

“You get to help the bairns and see them develop, grow in confidence and in their skills. That’s really the big benefit from it. They’re developing skills that will last for the whole of their lives.”

Alongside the Unsung Hero award, BHS also provided funding to help in Shetland’s quest to have its own indoor horse-riding arena.

Mrs Fraser said the isles were in desperate need of an indoor arena. The lack of the building, she said, left horse-riders at a significant disadvantage.

“If there’s anywhere in this world that needs an indoor riding arena it’s Shetland. We have the most inhospitable environment for horse-riding through the winter.

“Our pony club has a season from May to August, so you’re speaking four months out of 12 we can run. That’s solely because of a lack of daylight and weather.

“It would be one central facility for the whole of Shetland, but it would benefit everybody.”

Read the full story in this week’s Shetland Times


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