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Save Shetland Coastguard grateful for massive support

TWO representatives from Shetland Coastguard will travel to Stornoway next week to give evidence to the Transport Select Committee inquiry into the Coastguard station closure proposals.

A spokesman for the Save Shetland Coastguard campaign said at the weekend that they would again argue the case for the retention of the station in Lerwick, and also highlight flaws in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s proposals.

Under those proposals Aberdeen coastguard station would be the only Scottish full-time centre with either Lerwick or Stornoway becoming a day-time only station.

Spokesman Bob Skinley said that despite being placed in the odious position of a “them or us” competition with colleagues in Stornoway, both stations have co-operated closely and have submitted a joint “alternative proposal” to both the consultation process and the Transport Select Committee.

“We have refused to be drawn into some sort of petty competition with our colleagues in Stornoway and instead we have worked together closely, cementing an already good working relationship between the stations,” he said.

As the consultation process on the proposals came to an end last Thursday, campaigners have said “a big thank you” for all the support they received since these proposals were first made public just before Christmas.

Campaigner Alex Dodge said: “We are aware that this has been the biggest show of public support ever in Shetland and are very grateful for that.

“In particular, we would like to say a big thank you to Lee Coutts, who set up the Facebook page and the Save Shetland Coastguard website in the very early days of the campaign as this undoubtedly helped marshal the tremendous support we have received.

“Thank you to fellow campaigner Mike Smith, who stood down from the campaign earlier last month for personal reasons, for all his hard work.

“Thanks also to our colleagues in the Coastguard Rescue Service, our volunteers, who have given us their utmost support in this campaign.”