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College extension gets royal opening

Princess Anne hearing about the work of Shetland College art students. Photo: Malcolm YoungerTHE PRISTINE new £4.5 million extension to Shetland College was officially opened by Princess Anne on Tuesday morning.

It is the second time the Princess Royal, who is University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) chancellor, has visited Shetland for an unveiling this year. In June she did the ceremonial honours at the opening of the revamped Sumburgh Lighthouse complex.

Plans for new AHS given green light

A drawing of what the new Anderson High School will look like. COUNCILLORS in Shetland have given green light for the new £42 million Anderson High School and halls of residence to be built at the lower Staney Hill in Lerwick.

However, it looks increasingly likely that the new high school will not be ready to open its doors in August 2016 after officials imposed 25 planning conditions that must be met before construction work can begin.

Yes party takes over Da Street

A CARNIVAL atmosphere broke out on Lerwick's Commercial Street at the weekend as local musicians and artists celebrated their support for Scottish independence.

As crowds supporting the Yes campaign marched through the centre of all of Scotland's major cities, around 60 folk bearing blue banners, flags and badges marched from the Yes shop on Harbour Street to the Market Cross.

Weekend of bone marrow donor events for James

Craig Smaaskjaer completed his seventh climb of Ben Nevis in as many days on Friday.A HUGE campaign to help find a bone marrow donor to help six year old Nesting boy James Hawick comes to a head this weekend with a series of events in Lerwick, Cunningsburgh and Brae.

The family of James, who has the rare blood disorder aplastic anaemia, have been making a supreme effort to raise funds for the Anthony Nolan Trust, which registers bone marrow donors.

His uncle Craig Smaaskjaer has just climbed Ben Nevis seven times in seven days, and his JustGiving page has raised £12,000.

Trustees approve extra cash for hardship grants

EXTRA SPENDING of up to £57,000 on Shetland Charitable Trust’s financial hardship scheme – set up to replace winter Christmas grants – has been approved.

Earlier this year SCT trustees agreed to close the Christmas grant scheme, paid out to pensioners and the disabled, instead replacing it with a new fund targeted at the most vulnerable island residents including young families struggling with poverty.

Scotland’s biggest trawler returns from refit

The elongated Research returns to Lerwick harbour on Tuesday. Photo Ian LeaskWHALSAY now boasts the biggest fishing boat in Scotland with the return of the pelagic trawler Research (LK 62) from Norway where she underwent a refit.

Marine engineers at the Batbygg yard in Raudeberg added an extra 7.8 metre section that extends the vessel to a total length of 78.5 metres, the extra capacity allowing her to carry an extra 500 tonnes of fish.

A large area forward of the wheelhouse has also been decked in, making conditions safer for the men and allowing the vessel to fish more in the winter months.

Otter cubs reunited after losing their mum

Joey and Thea back together again at Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary.TWO tiny otter cubs have been reunited at a wildlife sanctuary in Shetland after becoming separated when they lost their mother.

Joey and Thea were found by children in the village of Vidlin days after local people heard them calling for help.

School cleaner Caroline Robertson first heard the otters close to the redundant lobster ponds when she left work on Thursday evening at Lunnasting primary school.

Charlie's Big Walk: tired limbs and high spirits

Marc Sherwood and Christopher Macgregor striding along near Channerwick. Photo: Austin TaylorA HERO’S welcome greeted ten weary workmates when they finished a non-stop, 80-mile charity walk in Sumburgh on Saturday afternoon.

The men, who are employed by Bilfinger at Sullom Voe, left the top of Unst at 6am on Friday in a gruelling quest to walk the length of Shetland in one go, writes Chris Cope.

Perfect weather for Bressay-Lerwick charity swim

The group after a "refreshing" cross-harbour swim on Saturday afternoon. Photo: Austin TaylorTHE BRESSAY to Lerwick swim saw spectacular weather and a staggering turnout of supporters for a fundraiser which has, to date, raised over £13,000 for charity.

By half past three on Saturday afternoon throngs of people lined Lerwick’s small harbour, writes Genevieve White. They crowded the pier, basking in the balmy September sun and looking over the sound to Bressay, where the 19-strong team were limbering up for their 1,200-metre swim across the channel.

This was the day the swimmers had been waiting for: a culmination of months of training, planning and, if the group’s Facebook’s page photo gallery is anything to go by, numerous high jinks involving false tang moustaches. 

Relay for Life breaks £300,000 barrier

Outgoing Relay for Life committee chairwoman Kerry Eunson with an enormous cheque for 2014's herculean effort.SHETLAND’S enormous bi-annual fund raising event Relay for Life has beaten its own extraordinary record by raising more than £300,000.

The announcement was made at Sound hall on Friday night when the Relay committee held a “thank you evening” for all the people who took part in the event which took place overnight from 31 May to 1 June at the Clickimin running track in Lerwick.

The phenomenal fund raising effort had already raised £200,000 before the big night, so this year's total of £306,560.76 was not completely unexpected, convincingly beating 2012’s £275,000 record – the most successful event of its kind anywhere in Europe.

High price paid for run down bungalow

The two bedroom bungalow in Kantersted Road whose sale price has caused such a story. Photo Dowle, Smith & RutherfordSHETLAND estate agents have been shocked by a house sale in Lerwick that realised 70 per cent more than the asking price.

The poor condition two bedroom bungalow at 23 Kantersted Road was put on the market this summer for offers over £90,000 by local estate agents Dowle, Smith & Rutherford.

In July it sold to an undisclosed buyer for £152,500.

College attracts rock and real royalty

Princess Anne during her rain-soaked visit to Shetland in June when she opened the refurbished Sumburgh lighthouse visitor centre.PRINCESS Anne will make her second visit to Shetland this summer when she officially opens the new Shetland College extension later this month.

The Princess Royal will be joined by a member of rock royalty, when former Ultravox lead singer and Live Aid co-founder Midge Ure delivers this year’s University of the Highlands and Islands annual lecture from Lerwick’s Mareel.

The princess, who is Chancellor of the UHI, will open the new £4.5 million college extension, which will include video conferencing suites, and internet café and a new library, on 16 September, just three months after opening the new Sumburgh lighthouse.

Skipper fined for going to sea while drunk

THE “FOOLHARDY” owner of a Fraserburgh fishing boat has been fined after admitting taking charge of his vessel and setting off for the north east of Scotland while he was drunk.

Stephen Ritchie, 55, of East Moss Croft, Fraserburgh, pleaded guilty to “culpably and recklessly” boarding whitefish boat Phoenix in Lerwick Harbour on 2 February 2013 while he and his crew were intoxicated.

The father of seven admitted he had headed to sea while so intoxicated that his ability to function as the vessel’s skipper was impaired.

Liz's 33 mile charity trek from Sandness-Lerwick

Liz Peterson out on the walk, along with her Jack Russell and friends, on Sunday. Photo: Barry BroadbentA WOMAN from the west side of Shetland raised thousands of pounds for charity by walking 33 miles from Sandness to Lerwick at the weekend.

Forty three year old Liz Peterson set off from Sandness at 8.30am on Sunday and, £500-worth of roadside donations later, arrived at the Great Wall restaurant in Lerwick at 8pm. 

Voe shop rated among top 100 UK stores

Tagon Stores in Voe has been run by the Preston family since January 2012.A POPULAR small independent shop in Voe, Shetland has been named one of the best convenience stores in the UK.

Tagon Stores was among 100 shops named by a business development programme for independent retailers, the Independent Achievers Academy (IAA).

Pair jailed for smuggling heroin into Shetland

TWO AYRSHIRE men who admitted bringing thousands of pounds worth of heroin into Shetland earlier this year were given lengthy jail sentences when they appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Monday morning.

James Kennedy, 29, was jailed for four years and two months, while 25 year old Greg Lawrie, was given two years and six months. Both gave addresses in Maybole, Ayrshire.

Total deny gas plant delay

An aeriel photo of the Total gas plant construction site taken in April this year. Photo TotalFRENCH oil giant Total has denied new reports that the £800 million Shetland gas plant will not be completed until next year.

Their comments come after Danish company Dong Energy, who have a 20 per cent stake in the development, announced to the financial markets this week that the Laggan-Tormore gas project had been delayed.

Chief construction contractor Petrofac has flooded Shetland with 2,400 workers in a desperate bid to finish building the gas plant, which was originally scheduled to open this summer, by the end of the year.

Talk on why equality is 'better for everyone'

'The Spirit Level' is a hugely influential piece of research.A SENIOR researcher from the Equality Trust will be in Shetland to give two presentations related to the hugely successful book ‘The Spirit Level’ early next week.

Madeleine Power will discuss the findings of the influential 2009 book, written by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, which highlights the “pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness and encouraging excessive consumption”.

Power will visit the islands to deliver a seminar to the Shetland Partnership Board, which includes representatives of key public bodies including NHS Shetland and Shetland Islands Council, on the afternoon of Tuesday 2 September. She will then give a public presentation in Room 16 at Islesburgh starting at 7pm that evening.

Crown Office seeks helicopter black box

Four people were killed when the Super Puma helicopter they were travelling in ditched into the sea in August 2013.SCOTLAND’S Lord Advocate is seeking to obtain the black box recorder from last year’s fatal helicopter crash just off Sumburgh.

Three men and a woman died after their Super Puma helicopter, carrying a total of 18 people, ditched into the sea on 23 August last year.

As part of its investigation into the incident, the Crown Office has petitioned the Court of Session for release of the EC225’s cockpit voice recorder. It is currently held by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

Town hall reception for trio of games athletes

From left to right: Shetland MSP Tavish Scott, swimmer Andrea Strachan, bronze medal winning swimmer Erraid Davies, table tennis player Lynda Flaws and SIC convener Malcolm Bell. Photo: Davie Gardner

SHETLAND'S trio of Commonwealth Games athletes were given a civic reception at Lerwick Town Hall on Monday night.

Council convener Malcolm Bell elected to lay on the event for bronze medal winner Erraid Davies, swimmer Andrea Strachan and table tennis player Lynda Flaws as a token of the community's appreciation of their achievements.

Joint venture could see new hotel built

Frank Strang of SaxaVord Resort says the mixture of local knowledge and Norwegian business acumen will help the new partnership to succeed.A NEW BUSINESS partnership has announced its intention to build a new hotel in or around Lerwick as part of a wider agreement to provide and operate different types of accommodation to address the unprecedented demand in the isles.

The Norwegian owner of the accommodation sites at Sella Ness, Malthus, has signed a partnership agreement with SaxaVord Resort aimed at tackling the shortage.

Hotel beds have become increasingly hard to come by in Shetland lately, with over 2,000 workers now in the isles helping to build Total’s £1bn gas plant.

Memorial at Sumburgh for helicopter crash victims

Over 100 people gathered to remember the four people who died in last year's tragic accident. Photo: Malcolm YoungerSURVIVORS of last year’s tragic helicopter crash just south of Sumburgh have paid tribute to the Shetland community following a dedication service marking the incident’s first anniversary.

Four people were killed when the Super Puma helicopter they were travelling in ditched in the sea around two miles south of Fitful Head on 23 August 2013.

80-mile walk in aid of six year old Charlie

Nine of the 10 workmates who are limbering up for an 80-mile, non stop walk the length of Shetland. Photo: Malcolm YoungerTEN WORKMATES have taken it upon themselves to undertake a non-stop, 80-mile walk the length of Shetland, from Unst to Sumburgh, for charity.

The workers, employed by Bilfinger Industrial Services at Sullom Voe, are raising funding for three charities helping six year old Charlie Newlands, from Sandwick, who is currently receiving treatment for leukaemia.

New Lerwick secondary faces delays

Final designs of the new Anderson High School may not be agreed until next year.SHETLAND Islands Council is facing up to the possibility that construction of the new Anderson High School may be delayed by several months following the takeover of the construction company behind the project.

This week a draft building programme for the £42 million Lerwick secondary school leaked to local media suggested the school may not open until Easter 2017, eight months behind schedule.

Ex Jarl banned and fined for drink driving

A FORMER guizer jarl with Lerwick Up Helly Aa was banned from driving for two years and fined £1,000 at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday after he admitted being at the wheel of his car while three and a half times the legal alcohol limit.

Stanley Manson, aged 57, of King Harald Street, Lerwick, was arrested after he was seen swerving back and forth across the centre of the road at the town's North Lochside around noon on Monday 11 August.

People driving behind his car reported Manson to the police after they saw him mount the kerb as he drove into the Clickimin Leisure Complex car park, before "stumbling and staggering" towards the building entrance when he climbed out of his vehicle.