In brief for 5 April

Lowri Best kep

Fair Isle makkin furiously

FAIR ISLE knitters plan to re-enact their age-old tradition of bartering knitwear for goods onboard passing ships, when the Tall Ships Race visits Shetland this July.

The famous island halfway between Orkney and Shetland is a guest harbour in the Cruise in Company leg of the event between Greenock and Lerwick.


Event organiser Jimmy Stout said: “The women of Fair Isle are ‘makkin’ [knitting] furiously in preparation for the event, hand-knitting traditional fishermen’s ‘keps’ [hats] to barter with the passing tall ships. 

“This is a great way for Fair Isle to celebrate and bring to life an important part of the island’s history, when yoals would intercept passing sailing ships and trade fresh and knitted goods for luxuries like new clothes, flour, tea, brandy and other essentials unavailable on the island.”

One Fair Isle resident Annie Thomson, who has been knitting for 85 years, is already on her fifth hat for the visiting ships.



MP praise pension changes

NORTHERN isles MP Alistair Carmichael has praised the proposed overhaul of the state pension scheme which would give everybody above retiring age a flat rate pension of £140 per week.

The LibDem MP, a member of the coalition government, said the reforms would ensure that people are getting the financial support they are entitled to.

“It has been clear for some time that the existing state pension simply is not working for many older people around the UK. The complexity of the current system has left many pensioners unaware of exactly what support they are entitled to receive.


“It is also wrong that men and women who have been forced to take time out from work to raise their families should be penalised as a result. The plans set out on Monday would help reduce the inequality that has seen many women receive thousands of pounds per year less than their male contemporaries,” Mr Carmichael said.


Norwegian consul

PROMINENT fishing businessman John Goodlad has been appointed as the new Honorary Consul for Norway in Lerwick, succeeding Laurence John Smith, who has retired.

The former Shetland Fishermen’s Association chief executive and salmon farm managing director is currently chairman of processing firms Shetland Catch and Shetland Fish Products, as well as chairing the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group.

Mr Goodlad is a member of a number of international fisheries organisations and is well known within the Norwegian seafood industry.


Health warning

NHS SHETLAND is joining the national campaign to warn people to take care of their health over the Easter period when some surgeries may be closed.

Director of clinical services Simon Bokor-Ingram said: “With so many school and public holidays during April, it’s important to be prepared to look after your health. This includes knowing when your GP surgery is open, planning ahead if you do need repeat prescriptions and making sure your medicine cabinet is well stocked with common remedies.


“As well as stocking the remedies you might need for coughs, colds, allergies or minor injuries, local pharmacies can also provide useful advice on how to stay healthy this spring.”


A lotta years on da lifeboat

RNLI reunion: Back row (left to right) John Sinclair, Peter Thomson, Kenny Pearson, Robert Wiseman, Richie Simpson, Ian Fraser, Neil Clark, John Clark, Malcolm Craigie, Theo Nicolson. Front row (left to right) Ray Leask, Hewitt Clark, Brian Miles CBE, Magnie Shearer, Billy Clark - Photo: Dave Donaldson

MORE than 250 years of experience on the Lerwick lifeboat was gathered together at the weekend for an annual dinner at the Scalloway Hotel, with former RNLI director Brian Miles CBE as guest of honour.

The 13 former crew members assembled included three ex coxswains, four second coxwains who had served on the lifeboat between 1956 and 2009.

Branch chairman Magnie Shearer said: “It was an honour to welcome Brian Miles to the Annual Dinner, while he was briefly in Shetland visiting friends. It was great for all of us to be able to get back together again on this special occasion.”