Open letter to: Council leader Cecil Smith, Convener Malcolm Bell, the Education and Family committee, and all elected members.
Last week's Shetland Times article with Barbara Rosie was brilliant, and a fantastic prelude to the hostel reunion, which takes place this month. However, when reading the words "Anderson High School Halls of Residence", it was a reminder that this is still the current proposed name for the new building.
The Education and Families committee seemed mainly concerned about the idea of "setting a precedent" in naming the building after a public servant who is still alive.
This precedent was set some time ago, e.g. the Hendra, Edward Thomason House etc, each named after a deserving (and living) retired public servant who devoted a good chunk of their life to our community. George McGhee is unquestionably one of our most well-respected and hardworking public servants, and there is clearly a great deal of support for honouring him in this way:
- A spontaneous online petition set up well before the Education and Families decision, supporting "The George McGhee Halls", attracted over 700 signatures.
- The results of the SIC's consultation on the hostel name overwhelmingly echoed that it should be the "George McGhee Halls".
- A Facebook petition launched soon after the Education and Families decision, entitled "Not the AHS Halls", and supporting the "George McGhee" option, attracted several hundred "likes", "shares" and "signatures".
- A very well-written letter appeared in the Shetland News last year after the decision, which summed-up public opinion at the time and was signed by a large number of people. It's well worth a read, and can be found at: www.shetnews.co.uk/letters/13391-insulting-consulting
Whilst last year's committee decision ran contrary to the voices of hostel residents present and past, there is still time to set this right, as the building's "official" opening ceremony is not due to take place until next year. We urge you to take another look at this, in light of the strength of feeling on this issue.
Bell Road, Lerwick
Agnes Jayne Smith
Gary Andrew Mouat
Hannah Ruth Sawford