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Sharon is the first Flybe community hero

Sharon Deyell - probably best known for her swapshop, held in the Aith hall. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

WESTSIDE woman Sharon Deyell said she is “shocked and surprised” that regional airline Flybe is going to name its Embraer 170 aircraft after the well-known community stalwart.

Deyell is known throughout the isles for her many fundraising initiatives – such as her swapshop sale – that have raised thousands of pounds for good causes over the years, and she has now been selected as the first ever Flybe community hero.

The 45-year old said that once the news had sunk in she felt “honoured” by the selection, although there remained an “unreal” element to it all.

She said she wanted to thank Elizabeth Nicolson, from Aith, who nominated her.

“I’ve got two free flights and there will be more surprises, I am being told,” the mother of two teenage girls said, adding that she “wants to thank everybody who has been helping me with all the crazy things I do to raise funds for charity.”

Flybe/Eastern Airways' Embraer jet at Sumburgh airport. Photo: Mark Berry

The naming of the aircraft is still a few weeks away as Flybe and its joint venture partner Eastern Airways will have to get the aircraft prepared for the unveiling.

The company said it had received numerous nominations for its community hero initiative, which was launched to mark the start of Flybe/Eastern Airways’ own Shetland service on 1 September.

Flybe’s interim chief commercial officer, Ronnie Matheson, said judges were impressed by Deyell’s selfless volunteer work and for “being possibly the most organised person on the westside of Shetland”.

“It was fantastic to read all of the nominations for Shetland and there were many who would have been very worthy winners but it was Sharon who stood out for her true community spirit,” Matheson said.

“Flybe specialises in connecting and engaging with the places we serve so to find someone who serves their community as much as she does made Sharon a clear winner.”