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Tributes to tireless businessman and sports coach

Local businessman Harry Jamieson has died at the age of 71.

TRIBUTES have flooded in for prominent local businessman Harry Jamieson, who has died aged 71.

Jamieson passed away at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary on Saturday evening having suffered a stroke at the end of May.

A mainstay of Lerwick town centre’s retail scene throughout his working life, in 2012 Jamieson celebrated 50 years in business with his popular Harry’s Department Store.

The shop has been at the heart of retail in the town for the past half century having grown from small beginnings as a barber’s shop into a multi-storey treasure trove selling everything from kids’ toys to kitchenware.

He initially used extra space in the barber’s shop to sell masks for Up Helly Aa before acquiring more property and expanding the shop. Jamieson’s involvement in the fire festival didn’t stop there: he was proud to serve as Guizer Jarl in 1981.

He will also be remembered within the community for his enormous commitment to Lerwick Spurs FC – devoting countless hours over the course of several decades coaching young kids once his own playing days were over.

Since 2011 Jamieson has served as Lerwick Port Authority’s chairman and was one of several local businesspeople to become involved in plans for a new windfarm in Yell and Unst.

LPA chief executive Sandra Laurenson said she was “deeply saddened” by the news and her thoughts were with Jamieson’s family – his wife Mary, son Stewart, daughter Caroline and their respective families.

“As chairman of LPA for the past four years, Harry was proud to lead the authority which he did with great interest, commitment and enthusiasm,” Laurenson said.

“He was always forward-looking and a great supporter of developing the harbour and there was much he was looking forward to.

“Harry had a wide range of interests and kept his finger firmly on the pulse of all that happened locally – whether it be retail business, Lerwick Town Centre, economic wellbeing of Shetland generally, the port, boating, football, Up Helly Aa and local history – he was a champion for all those things.

“His untimely death leaves us all poorer and he will be very sadly missed.”

Jamieson pictured in 2012 as he celebrated Harry's Department Store's 50th anniversary. Photo: Olivia Abbott

Lerwick Spurs FC chairman Jimmy Robertson said everyone at the club was “shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden passing of Harry”.

“He had only recently retired from an active role at the club after decades of incredible service as coach at every junior age group as well as sponsor, fundraiser, chairman and of course player,” Robertson said.

“It is difficult to comprehend the loss of a man synonymous with the club for so long. He was affectionately nicknamed ‘the Don’ by the senior players because of his generosity and ability to get things done and it was well known he had personally helped some less well off players young and old to be members of the club, participate on trips and enjoy being part of Lerwick Spurs.

“He will probably be remembered by most for his tireless commitment to the Spurs junior coaching, his iconic red shop van parked at the training pitches and on matchdays – whatever the weather – with Harry himself out there on the pitch coaching another group of youngsters.”

He added: “Our thoughts go to Mary and the rest of the family at this time. He will be sorely missed by so many at the club and remembered by all in Shetland football.”

A statement on behalf of the current Up Helly Aa committee said the festival had lost one of its stalwarts.

“A guizer, ex-Jarl, chairman of the ex-Jarls Association and torch maker, Harry devoted so much of his time to the festival, always in good spirits.

“He is going to be sorely missed by everyone and it’s safe to say the galley shed will not be the same without him. It’s often been joked that if anybody could have done a second 15 years on the Up Helly Aa committee it would have been Harry. Our thoughts are with Mary, Stewart, Caroline and all the family at this sad time.”

Paul Riddell, chairman of Energy Isles – the company hoping to build a windfarm in Yell and Unst – expressed “deepest condolences” to Jamieson’s family on behalf of the board and shareholders.

“Harry was a very successful businessman who was passionate about – and gave a huge amount to – the Shetland community,” he said. “He was also forward thinking and deeply committed to the development of renewables in the isles. Whenever we met he always took a great deal of interest in the latest developments. He will be sorely missed.”