JIMMY Moncrieff, who has served as general manager of Shetland Amenity Trust for more than two decades, has died aged 57.
The Lerwick-born man was a lawyer by trade and also worked as the first manager of Shetland Salmon Farmers Association when it was formed in 1984 prior to taking over the amenity trust in the mid 1990s.
During his tenure at the trust, Moncrieff oversaw the development of the new Shetland Museum and Archives at Hay’s Dock, which was given a royal opening in May 2007, as well as the new Sumburgh Head visitor centre and the organisation’s move into smartly-converted new premises at Garthspool.
Shetland Amenity Trust was set up to promote access to and enhance the islands’ cultural and natural heritage.
Moncrieff also spearheaded various other archaeological and heritage projects, while in 2007 he spent around two months volunteering in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, which had been badly damaged by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in the winter of 2004.
He was an important figure in Shetland’s civic life and built the amenity trust – funding by a mixture of Shetland Charitable Trust (SCT) and external funders – into a much more significant organisation during his time at the helm.
In a short statement on Monday, amenity trust chairman Brian Gregson said: “It is with great sadness that the trustees and staff of Shetland Amenity Trust learned that its general manager for over 20 years died last evening in the Gilbert Bain Hospital.
“He was passionate about Shetland’s heritage, culture and environment and a good friend to many in Shetland. The work of the trust will continue as Jimmy would have wanted.”
Shetland Islands Council convener Malcolm Bell said: “For many years, Jimmy was the driving force behind many of Shetland’s historical and environmental projects.
“He was passionate about Shetland’s past and his legacy will be the huge difference that he made to the profile of Shetland, both nationally and internationally. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and his colleagues at Shetland Amenity Trust.”
SCT chairman Bobby Hunter said: “Jimmy was a staunch advocate for Shetland’s heritage and environment. He and his team at Shetland Amenity Trust were very successful at using SCT core funding to lever in significant financial support for some of our most pupular visitor attractions, including Shetland Museum and Archives. I’d like to extend our condolences to his family and colleagues.”
Former manager of Shetland Arts – one of the other two main trusts in the islands – Gwilym Gibbons said he was “deeply saddened” by the news, saying Moncrieff’s “cultural ambition for Shetland was second to none, never curtailed or distracted by naysayers”.
“His legacy is built into the very fabric of Shetland’s cultural landscape for the enjoyment of generations to come,” Gibbons added.