IT’S THE second Friday of the year – traditionally the day Shetland’s fire festival season kicks off in Scalloway with the first of 12 events to take place between now and the middle of March.
The honour of leading the guizers down the ranks this year fell to local man Leslie Setrice, who has gathered a squad of 22 Vikings and 11 bairns, including his three year old daughter Aoife, to mark his big day in the community.
He has a big thank you for his brother Richard, who actually was meant to be the jarl on Friday. According to Leslie, he wasn’t keen to be the head guy and “so he pushed the reins on to me and I was willing to take on the duties of being the jarl”.
The 33 year old, who works as a ramp agent and baggage handler for Loganair at Sumburgh Airport, has chosen to depict Viking hero Ragnar Lothbrok, made famous by the History Channel’s programme Vikings.
And to give it a more personal touch he has added as a middle name his family’s original surname of Sutrike, which is of Lithuanian origin.
Leslie said his forefathers came to Britain when Russia invaded Lithuania and their surname was change to the more “British sounding” Setrice when his grandfather wanted to join the British Army during the war.
He has tried to find out more about his family, but finds it very hard to track down any information from the Baltic country.
In any case, implementing the original family name into his Viking disguise means a lot to him and “especially for my father”.
The first Viking squad of the year dresses in a steel silver kirtle with a black and gold trim as well as reindeer skins.
Ragnar Sutrike Lothbrok said he was keen on “taking things back to basics” a bit, so the squad is not sporting any leather elements in their outfits.
“I wanted to take things a step back; you have the jarl with leather on and making sure he stands out from the crowd,” he said. “Each of us have horns, shields, daggers and axes; the shields have been made from scratch.”
And there is no doubt that he is enjoying the day, starting with the first visit to the NAFC Marine Centre at 9am before the traditional photos in the galley outside the Scalloway youth club.
This will be followed by many more social visits throughout the day, culminating with the torch lid parade through the village and the subsequent burning of the galley at Port Arthur.
“It is a great honour to be at the helm and leading all the guizers down the ranks – a great honour to actually do this,” he said.
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