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Big events get big approval

THE POSSIBILITY of the Tall Ships Races and Island Games being hosted again in Shetland has moved one step closer after councillors backed plans for the isles to bid for large events in the future.

The matter had already been warmly welcomed by members of Shetland Islands Council’s policy and resources committee on Tuesday, and it was given the green light by the full council on Wednesday.

Shetland hosted the Tall Ships in 1999 and 2011, and the Island Games in 2005.

The isles could look to bid to host the Tall Ships in five year’s time, and the Islands Games in 2027 at the earliest, but there is no guarantee of success.

Councillors were reminded on Wednesday that the council would not be the main driver in future bids, and would instead act as a partner.

They were told this week that hosting large events like the Tall Ships and Island Games would bring massive social benefits to the isles.

Development manager Douglas Irvine said that the 2011 Tall Ships had a total economic return of £3.94 million, representing a return of about 3:1 from the council’s backing of £1.1 million.

The total cost of the Islands Games in 2005 was around £2 million, with £1.5 million coming from the council’s finance service, £400,000 from local fundraising and nearly £100,000 being awarded by Events Scotland.

Lerwick member Peter Campbell, who is the secretary of sailing organisation the Swan Trust, led councillors’ praise for the idea on Wednesday, saying Shetland was a port well thought of by Tall Ships organisers.