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Fundraising drive to bring heating back to Fair Isle hall

The Fair Isle community hall was built in 1980.

THE REMOTE island community of Fair Isle has launched a fundraising drive in a bid to secure enough cash to replace the faulty heating system at its public hall.

The campaign has a total target of £20,000 and one of the ways it is attempting to raise funds is through a series of online auctions on Facebook.

The community hall – which was built in 1980 – hosts a range of events from dances and sales to teas and sports, while it also opens to allow visiting cruise ship passengers to buy local knitwear.

Eileen Thomson, who is helping to coordinate the campaign, said the heating system was about 20 years old and needed completely replaced.

The total costs is estimated at £30,000, but £10,000 has already been secured through funding from Awards for All and more grant applications are being submitted.

“The main issue is the old boiler doesn’t function well anymore and if the wind comes from the wrong direction it blows all the fumes into the hall, making it useless,” Eileen said.

“We need to move and replace the whole system – i.e. the fuel tank, boiler and pipes.”

Eileen said the small community of around 60 people “greatly appreciates” the money raised by the public so far.

“The hall really is vital to our community,” she said. “It is used by us all for various events, dances, sports and social groups, the school use it and it’s where we hold teas and craft sales for visiting cruise ships which is where most sales of the local traditional Fair Isle knitwear come from.

“It’s our hall and we work hard to keep it running as an island, but greatly appreciate the kindness and support we have received so far.”

The first item up for online auction on the hall’s new Facebook page is a hand knitted traditional Fair Isle fisherman’s kep, with the item up to £90 by Friday morning.

An online fundraising page, meanwhile, has attracted donations from across the world.

General Election - 12 December 2019