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Fishing boat safe in port after Mayday call

Lerwick lifeboat escorted the Floreat to Lerwick harbour - Photo: Mark BerryLERWICK lifeboat and the Sumburgh based search and rescue helicopter responded to a Mayday call on Sunday morning when a fishing vessel was in danger of capsizing in the Fair Isle channel.

The Scarborough registered Floreat SH60 with six crew on board reported that a line had become fast to the seabed and with one door open the vessel was taking in water and had started listing.

Shetland Coastguard was alerted to the incident 15 miles southeast of Sumburgh at 7.16am.

Isles’ only Victoria Cross soldier honoured

SIC convener Malcolm Bell (centre) with the Reverend Caroline Lockerbie and AHS history teacher Jon Sandison - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNewsA SMALL group of invited guests gathered at the war memorial at Lerwick's Hillhead on Friday morning to witness the unveiling of a commemorative paving slab in honour of Lieutenant William Bruce.

Bruce, the only person in Shetland's World War One Roll of Honour to be awarded a Victoria Cross, died in the trenches in France 100 years ago to the day.

Hunger and poverty amid economic boom

David Grieve and Angela Nunn at the Salvation Army's food bank on Lerwick's North Road. Photo: Shetnews/Neil RiddellWHENEVER Angela Nunn of the Salvation Army hands out hot water bottles, blankets and duvets to some of Shetland’s most needy residents, she has mixed feelings: “They need to be able to afford to heat their home properly.”

It is a deeply uncomfortable truth that, in a wealthy community with exceptionally low unemployment, demand for food parcels and other assistance exists at all.

Lerwick break ins spark police hunt

LERWICK police are looking for thieves behind a series of break ins and attempted break ins overnight on Wednesday.

Damage was caused to The Red Dragon takeaway restaurant on Commercial Road, when thieves broke in and stole foodstuffs.

A house on Rudda Court had its windows smashed for the second night in a week and several commercial properties in the Gremista Industrial Estate suffered attempted break ins and associated damage.

Government cash to refurbish airport

Sumburgh airport manager Nigel Flaws (left) with transport minister Derek Mackay in Sumburgh on Thursday.THE SCOTTISH government is to pump £6.5 million into refurbishing Sumburgh airport, transport minister Derek Mackay announced during a flying visit to the isles on Thursday.

The airport terminal, which has seen little work carried out since it opened in the 1970s to cope with oil industry related traffic, is to be reclad and the check in and security sections are to be revamped.

Money will also be spent on upgrading the control tower and the fire station.

Supreme Court hears Viking wind farm arguments

THE SCOTTISH government displayed “a fundamental misunderstanding” of European laws to protect birds when it granted permission for a huge wind farm in Shetland, it was claimed in the UK’s highest court on Thursday.

Five law lords sitting in the Supreme Court have been asked to decide whether Holyrood was correct to give planning consent to the 103 turbine Viking Energy wind farm in Shetland’s central mainland in April 2012.

Thursday’s hearing, the third in connection with the Viking development, may set a precedent about protecting endangered birds that live outside designated special areas of conservation.

Cream in new cartons to wow back shoppers

Dairy manager Gerry Byers: 'I want to win those customers back' - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNewsSHETLAND Farm Dairies has reached another milestone in its attempts to win back local customers.

The company's newly packaged range of single, double cream and whipping cream was delivered to local shops this week.

Council making case to replace NorthLink vessels

Freight boat Hamnavoe. SIC officials are making the case to government that replacement vessels would make the service cheaper to run.IT WOULD be “very difficult” for the government to get new vessels in place by the time the next north boats contract starts in April 2018, according to Shetland’s most senior transport official.

Shetland Islands Council transport manager Michael Craigie told councillors on Wednesday that the size of the ships remained “one of the most significant constraints” faced on the route between Lerwick and Aberdeen.

The council is determined to ensure its voice is heard in advance of the Scottish Government awarding the next contract after major discontent about the process which resulted in Serco winning the route in 2012.

Challenging times despite quota gains

Fishermen leaders have described the outcome of the end of year fisheries talks as 'reasonably positive' - Photo: ShetNewsPOLITICIANS and fishing leaders have reacted with a degree of satisfaction to the result of the Brussels quota talks, which are likely to bring a period of stability to the fishing fleet.

The conclusion of the end of year fisheries council was described as "reasonably positive" by the Shetland Fishermen's Association and the Scottish White Fish Producers' Association.

But everybody commenting on the issue is warning of the lack of preparation for the whitefish discard ban, which will come into force in January 2016.

Plane struck by ‘almighty bang’

A Loganair plane touching down at Sumburgh airport - Photo: Ronnie RobertsonA SHETLAND woman has described how a Loganair plane was struck by lightning on its approach to Sumburgh Airport on Monday evening.

The Saab aircraft, with 29 passengers and three crew on board, had to return to Aberdeen where it was met by the airport's emergency crew after landing safely.

Union calls off ferry strike

A PLANNED strike by workers on inter-island ferries in Shetland on Wednesday has been called off. 

Shetland Islands Council said it had been informed by local representatives from Unite that the planned industrial action would now not take place.

Ferries had been expected to be out of action every Wednesday from 6am to 9am commencing this week.

Plane hit by lightning on Sumburgh approach

A LOGANAIR plane was struck by lightning on its approach to Sumburgh Airport on Monday evening and had to turn back to Aberdeen as a precaution.

A company spokesman said the captain of flight BE6780 decided to return to Aberdeen and a precautionary Mayday call was made at around 7pm.

The flight had departed at 6.20pm and returned to Aberdeen at 8pm. Passengers were put up in a hotel overnight.

Kayakers enjoy snowy scenes in Weisdale

Rachel Shucksmith enjoying the tranquil water in Weisdale Voe on Saturday. Photo: Angus NicolA GROUP of enthusiastic sea kayakers enjoyed some stunning scenery when they took to the water in Weisdale voe on Saturday.

After strong winds had battered the islands for much of last week, the kayakers took relish in the flat calm water against a backdrop of snow-dusted hillsides.

Industry buoyed by record fish landings

More fish is landed in Lerwick and Scalloway than in England, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.WHITE FISH landings in Shetland’s markets have reached record levels for the second year in a row.

Abundant stocks of fish in the rich waters around the islands have enabled boats to land more than 5,000 boxes for 39 out of 52 weeks in 2014.

Shetland is now the second biggest port in the UK for white fish landings after Peterhead. Overall more fish is put down on the quaysides in Lerwick and Scalloway than in England, Wales and Northern Ireland combined.

Lifetime award for Davie

Kevin Henderson with his father Davie's award at the Scottish Trad Music Awards on Saturday night. Photo: Louis DeCarloDAVIE Henderson, the sadly missed mainstay of the Shetland Folk Festival who died early this year, was honoured with a lifetime award at the Scottish Trad Music Awards in Inverness on Saturday night.

Henderson’s son Kevin was handed the Hamish Henderson award for services to traditional music on behalf of his late father, having already opened the event as a member of Fiddlers' Bid.

Shetland's stalwart dance band Da Fustra also walked away with the Dance Band of the Year award, having won it 10 years ago.

Mystery map recovered from basement

Shetland archivist Brian Smith with the freshly discovered map of Sumburgh. Photo SATA HUGE old map of Shetland’s southernmost coastline has been found in the basement of a historic house in Sandwick.

Property manager Robert Bell discovered the map measuring five by 15 feet last year in his cellar at Sand Lodge, whose estate used to incorporate the Sumburgh coastline that is depicted.

Local archivist identified the map had been drawn by well known teacher, surveyor and prolific map maker Andrew Dishington Mathewson from East Yell in 1873.

Union presses ahead with ferries strike

Ferry mates will stage short walkouts each Wednesday morning starting on 17 December - Photo: ShetNewsINTER ISLAND ferry service in Shetland will be hit by industrial action as of Friday, the local authority has warned.

Unionised ferry mates will refuse to act up as masters and may not work overtime to cover annual and sick leave.

Teenager lucky to be alive

Samuel Barlow on Westerloch Drive shortly before being arrested on 23 September - Photo: Austin TaylorA TEENAGER who sparked a major firearms incident in Shetland this September has pled guilty to four charges of assault and one of abusive and threatening behavior.

Lerwick Sheriff Court heard on Wednesday that Samuel Barlow was lucky to have not been shot by firearms officers as they closed in on him at Lerwick's Westerloch Drive on 23 September.

At the height of the incident, specially trained officers from Inverness were flown to Shetland to provide back up for the two authorised firearms officers based in the isles.

Editorial: a hardship scheme for the working poor

On Thursday, Shetland Charitable Trust will meet to discuss abolishing its financial hardship scheme, the seemingly short-lived successor to the Christmas grant paid to pensioners since 1976. Though only overhauled earlier this year, it is now the trust management's view that the scheme is impractical to administer.

A brief report (item 3) sent to trustees states that "the government sets benefits at a level to ensure that individuals have a minimum standard of living". Which is true, in theory.

But by coincidence that document dropped into the email inbox on the same day a cross-party Westminster report entitled 'Feeding Britain' bemoaned the prevalence of food banks and sanctions against welfare claimants.

Schools close as lightning strikes

Waves towering over a croft building at Eshaness - Photo: John MoncrieffPUPILS across the north and east of Shetland had an unexpected day off school when a power cut plunged large parts of the isles into darkness on Wednesday morning.

Scottish & Southern Energy said that 2,500 customers in the north isles, the north mainland as well as Whalsay lost their electricity due to lightning at around 8am.

Charitable trust could abolish hardship scheme

Shetland Charitable Trust's office on Lerwick's Commercial Road.TRUSTEES of Shetland Charitable Trust are being asked to axe its financial hardship scheme, which was created to replace the traditional Christmas grant paid to the elderly since the 1970s.

In a report going before trustees on Thursday, general manager Ann Black states that outside assistance required to operate the scheme is “becoming increasingly limited” and is not expected to be available in the future.

The local branch of the Age Concern charity is already voicing its concern, while trust vice chairman Jonathan Wills acknowledges the proposal is liable to be “contentious and controversial”.

Motorists reminded to heed new drink driving limit

Shetland's chief inspector Eddie Graham.“MY ADVICE is that if you’re going out for the evening and you are taking the car, don’t have anything to drink – it’s the one sure way you can avoid being convicted of drinking and driving”.

That is the simple message from Shetland’s chief police inspector Eddie Graham after the new lower limit for drink driving came into force last week.

Anyone found to have 22mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath now faces a drink driving conviction – down from the previous limit of 35mcg – following the introduction of fresh legislation by the Scottish Government.

Police seek missing Dutchman

Nicolaas ZegersSIXTY four year old Dutch man Nicolaas Vegers has been traced safe and well after being reported missing from an address at Lochend, Collafirth, on Saturday

He was last seen at 3.45pm on Saturday the B9076 leaving Brae walking towards Scatsta.

Zegers is described as 6 foot 1 inch tall, of medium build and is bald headed with a fair complexion.

He speaks with a Dutch accent and was wearing a royal blue anorak, light blue jeans and shoes. He was also wearing a distinctive brown fur, Russian style, trappers hat.

Appeal for 'Northern Isles' room at neuro ward

One of the images in a "nudie" calendar to raise money for a "Northern Isles Room" in the ARI's neurological ward.AN ORKNEY woman who set up a charity to raise money for the neurological ward at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary after her husband fell ill is appealing to Shetlanders to help with her fundraising efforts.

Caroline Critchlow, of Houton, Orkney, has already raised £50,000 for Friends of the Neuro Ward ARI, which she and her husband Kevin set up after he was treated at the ward following a brain tumour.

Wildlife photographer’s climate warning

Wildlife photographer Doug Allan at Mareel with copies of his new book Freeze Frame. Photo Shetland NewsTHERE are not many people who could fill Mareel on their own by telling stories, but wildlife photographer Doug Allan did just that on Thursday night.

World famous for his polar pictures on BBC series like Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet, Allan kept his 320-strong audience enthralled with his stories from the coldest parts of the world.