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News round-up / Sandra receives OBE from Prince William, over £5,000 raised for scanner, new signing manual,

FORMER Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson has been presented with her OBE at Buckingham Palace.

Former Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson receiving her OBE from Prince William.

She received the award from Prince William in recognition of her services to the UK ports industry and the Scottish economy after being included in the Queen’s New Year honours list.

Laurenson retired from the port authority in November after nearly 44 years with the organisation.

“My involvement with the ports industry in Shetland and elsewhere was very much a team effort and the award is recognition of the sector’s vital contribution,” she said.

“It was a wonderful event and a real pleasure to receive the honour from The Duke of Cambridge.

“My family and I were all delighted to visit Buckingham Palace and enjoy the occasion. The highlight was meeting and having a short conversation with The Duke, a special moment in a day of memories to treasure.”

OVER £5,000 was raised for the Shetland MRI scanner appeal by people who came together to celebrate the life of the late John Hunter.

A total of £5,500 was raised at his funeral in Whiteness after he died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage on 11 February.

Over 800 people came together that day and the amount raised was one of the biggest collections for the appeal so far.

John worked at Clickimin Leisure Centre and was the guizer jarl at the 2011 Lerwick Up Helly Aa.

His sister Kaye said the decision to support the MRI appeal was linked to John’s sudden death, and her own problems with a blood clot on the brain.

She had a CT scan which identified the clot, enabling her to receive lifesaving medication before being transferred to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

“Maybe if John had had an opportunity for a scan we could have picked up that there was a problem,” she said.

Kaye and her other brother Robert said: “John would be proud knowing that part of his legacy was to enable Shetland to buy this scanner”.

With the new Signalong Shetland manual at Bell’s Brae Primary School are (left to right): Lesley Simpson, Quality Improvement Officer for Children and Young People with Additional Support Needs; Susie Fox, ASN Teacher; Tiffany Silcott, who designed the front cover; Irene Smith, Vice Convener, Shetland ForWirds; Julia McGinlay, Deputy Head (ASN).” Photo: SIC

A NEW manual with a local twist has been launched to help children and adults with communication difficulties.

The manual is focused on Signalong, which is a key word signing system based on British Sign Language, and it includes an image bank of over 250 signs.

Signs for Shetland related words like Up Helly Aa, fiddle, knitting, puffin and ferry are included.

The manual will be shared with early years settings and schools across Shetland, and a team of assistant tutors are being trained to deliver and promote more use of Signalong.

Nearly 100 Shetland people have already received training in the use of Signalong over the last two years.

A group of Anderson High School pupils, meanwhile, have also recently committed to a ‘Signalong for Learners’ course to work towards a qualification in the use of signing.

Chairman of the council’s education and families committee George Smith said: “I hope that our schools and early years settings will find this useful to help learners, their families and teachers to learn new communication skills.

“I also hope that manual will help many of us to expand our abilities to communicate with others in our community who have communication difficulties now or later in their lives.”