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News round-up / Lerwick lifeboat gala, Skeld post office doubts, lecturers pay dispute resolved, accolade for wildlife boat operator

Lerwick lifeboat following the NorthLink ferry Hrossey during the traditional cruise around Bressay and Noss. Photo: Mark Berry

HUNDREDS of islanders turned out for the annual Lerwick Lifeboat open day at Victoria Pier on Saturday.

The event usually raises thousands of pounds for the RNLI and this year will be no different although a final figure has not yet been released.

THE POST Office service which runs out of Skeld Hall is set to close next week due to the resignation of the local postmaster.

The Westerskeld branch will temporarily close at 2pm on 18 June.

The Post Office said it is “currently investigating the options available which will enable us to reinstate a post office service to the local community”.

The nearest service is in Reawick around three miles away, while more thorough opening hours are available at Bixter and Walls.

A consultation is open until 21 June on the matter for locals’ to submit their views on the post office service in the area.

THE LONG-running pay dispute between further education college lecturers and their employers has finally been settled after members of the EIS-FELA union voted in favour of accepting an improved pay offer.

Under the terms of the agreement, all lecturers will receive £400 unconsolidated and £1,500 consolidated – covering a period of three years and five months from 1 April 2017 to 31 August next year.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Scotland’s lecturers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of accepting the improved pay offer, bringing an end to a long-running dispute within the college sector.

“It is regrettable that lecturers were forced into taking six days of strike action to secure a fair cost of living pay settlement. Nevertheless, it is very welcome that a resolution has been reached.”

Chief executive of Colleges Scotland Employers’ Association, Shona Struthers, added: “We very much welcome this agreement which ends the EIS-FELA’s industrial action and restores some stability to the sector.

“We are especially pleased for the students who have been adversely affected by the EIS-FELA’s strike action and its action short of strike action.”

Seabirds and Seals turnout Dunter at the Noss seabird cliffs

THE OPERATORS of a local wildlife tour boat said they were “absolutely thrilled” after being awarded four stars under VisitScotland’s quality assurance scheme, as well as the 2019 certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor.

Marie Fullerton and Brian Leask took over established business Seabirds and Seals in 2017, and they said their first season in 2018 “totally” exceeded their expectations.

The company offered regular trips to the famous seabird cliffs of Noss on board the tour boat Seabird.

Marie said: “At the beginning of May we had a quality assurance inspection from a VisitScotland representative and just found out that we’ve been awarded four stars.

“We’ve been informed that this is classed as excellent and very hard to get four stars and been told we should be well proud of this achievement considering we are only into our second season.”

Gannets at Noss. Photo: Seabirds and Seals