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Lerwick to host festival of remembrance

Unveiling the Shetland War Memorial at Hillhead, 6 January 1924. Photo: R. Ramsay/ Shetland Museum and Archives

A DAY-LONG event will be held in Lerwick in November to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.

Local history groups, pupils from Anderson High School and Vidlin’s Cabin Museum will set up displays in the Clickimin Leisure Complex in Lerwick during the day on 10 November.

This will feature stories and memorabilia from Shetland on the impact of the First World War, while they will have details of locals who served in the armed forces.

A festival of remembrance will be held in the evening in the Clickimin’s main hall featuring music from Hjaltibonhoga, Shetland Choral Society, Lerwick Brass Band, and Lerwick Legion Pipe Band.

The evening will be introduced by Mary Blance, and it will include a selection of music, songs and poetry to commemorate the events of 1914-1918.

There will also be a ‘drumhead service’, with drums arranged as a makeshift altar, like they would have done in the field. It will be led by Reverend Tom Macintyre, who is the chaplain to Shetland Islands Council.

The next morning, on Sunday 11 November, the annual Armistice Day event will be held at the war memorial at the Hillhead in Lerwick.

The festival has been organised by a group of volunteers, with funding provided by The Heritage Lottery Fund, Shetland Islands Council and donations from local businesses.

Co-ordinator John Taylor said: “The centenary of the end of the First World War is of course a date of great significance for all the nations and communities involved, including Shetland.

“The Great War affected our community as much as it did in many other places, and there were many Shetlanders here and elsewhere who didn’t return home after hostilities ended. These two events will offer us a chance to reflect on the impact of the war in Shetland and to commemorate those who were lost.”

Tickets for the festival of remembrance are free of charge and available online through Shetland Arts Box Office, and also to collect from Islesburgh Community Centre, Shetland Library, The Shetland Times Bookshop and Millgaet Media in the Toll Clock Shopping Centre.

Tickets will also be available from performers, churches and local history groups.

Donations will be collected from the public during the day and takings will be divided between The Royal British Legion (Scotland), the Erskine Hospital, the Scottish hospital for ex-servicemen, the Royal Air Force Association, The Merchant Navy Association and the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association.

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