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Brydon is new jarl-in-waiting

The latest addition to the Lerwick Up Helly Aa committee is Brydon Gray.

THE NEWEST addition to the Lerwick Up Helly Aa committee has described being picked to become a future Guizer Jarl as “surreal”.

Brydon Gray, who lives in the town, was elected as the Guizer Jarl for 2031 at last Tuesday’s mass meeting in the Garrison Theatre in Lerwick.

He was welcomed onto the committee by 2016 jarl-in-waiting Mark Evans.

Gray said there had been a “whirlwind” of good luck messages as he looks ahead to getting closer to the Up Helly Aa process.

“To be voted onto the committee by the guizers at the mass meeting means a lot to me,” he said.

“The response I’ve received from everybody involved with the festival so far has been overwhelming, it’s just been a surreal experience and I can’t wait to get started.”

Gray was a member of the Jarl’s Squad as a youngster in 1989 and 1998 – something that “sparked his interest” in attempting to eventually become Guizer Jarl.

With his time set to come in 2031, it seems an age away – but Gray doesn’t mind the wait.

“I’ve been told that the 15 years will fly in, which may seem hard to believe,” he said, “but I certainly plan on enjoying every minute of it until the wait is over.”

His family, meanwhile, have strong Up Helly Aa connections, with links to both the Jarl’s Squad and squads of guizers.

“My family is certainly massive Up Helly Aa fans and they love everything about it,” Gray said.

“My old man has guized for decades with his own squad, and my brother Stuart and uncle Kenny both guize with my squad.

“My granny’s husband Willie Black was Guizer Jarl in 1989 who I was out with, and as for the future generation my peerie boy Joe will be 17 by the time our Jarl Squad year comes around so it will be a good age for him to be involved.”

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