Sun shines on Aith lifeboat gala

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The weather set itself fair for Aith Lifeboat Gala day on Sunday, and the sun definitely put his hat on and came out to play.

A slightly chilly wind decided to tag along for the fun and games too, but that didn’t cool anybody’s spirits and there was a good turnout for the event.

Children were delighted to come along and meet the islands’ newest TV star – nothing to do with the series ‘Shetland’, but Socks, the dancing pony from the advert for mobile network Three.

The diminutive star led the parade of jarl squads from South Mainland, Brae and Northmavine, from the public hall down to the lifeboat station, where a rather mumbled Up Helly Aa song was sung, before a couple of characters from Madagascar began meeting and greeting the crowd.

Highlight of the day for adults (apart from the beer tent and whisky curling, of course) was the demonstration from the lifeboat crew and the coastguard helicopter, a stirring sight as they showed off their vital life-saving skills and reminded everybody what the event was raising money for – what it was really all about.

And once the excitement of the rescue was over, visitors also had a rare chance to get on board the lifeboat and take a look around the inside, finding out what really goes on during a rescue.

The biggest attraction by far for the children, though, seemed to be the Bixter fire department’s big red engine. The youngsters were queueing up to have a go on the hose, and for a chance to sit in the driver’s seat and “press the nee-naw button”.

There was also face-painting and nail art; a chance to buy gifts and lucky dips, with a tombola and stalls; a bouncy castle to entertain the children who’d already had their go on the fireman’s hose; plus a barbecue and tea and cakes for those in need of sustenance.

There was also musical entertainment with acts including Aestaewast drumming group and young fiddler of the year Callum Watt.

The day was pronounced a great success by Aith lifeboat station’s press officer Elizabeth Wark.
“We’d like to thank all who came and contributed,” she said.

“The funds we raised are vital to keeping the lifeboat up and running, and it’s great that people come along and support events like this. Everybody had a great time.”

The lifeboat team will be counting the money they raised on Monday night.

Olivia Abbott

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