News / Learning life-saving skills, debunking falsehoods about plastic, Church of Scotland fun run, Commonwealth war graves talk, latest issue of The New Shetlander

HUNDREDS of young swimmers in Shetland are to get a lesson in life-saving skills as part of the Royal Life Saving Society UK’s Drowning Prevention Week which runs from 14-24 June.

Around 830 children locally will be involved through Shetland Recreational Trust and Shetland Amateur Competitive Swimming Club.

They will also learn the importance of floating if they ever fall in cold water and the meanings of different flags if they are at the beach.

In 2018, a total of 263 people lost their lives to unintentional drowning in the UK, of which 46 were in Scotland.

Sharon MacDonald, Director of Development at Scottish Swimming, said: “Swimming is an essential life skill which helps children to be safer in and around water.

“Ahead of the summer holidays we want children to have fun and enjoy swimming but to also have the knowledge on how to look after themselves and others.


TWO students from Shetland College are setting up a challenging art installation that is aimed to debunk common falsehoods about plastic.

By buying plastic we the consumers are not a passive actor in this chain but equally creators of the problem and sadly also creators of a world where children in poorer countries fall ill next to mountains of our garbage, Grioghair McCord and Claire Davenport say.

“Six of the largest soft drinks’ companies use a combined average of just 6.6 per cent recycled plastic globally. In truth most of what we believe is recycled isn’t. Even just a few scrapes or food smears relegate plastic to non-market value,” they said.

“When the lucky few items are recycled, they are supplemented by vast amounts of virgin plastic. As national and intergovernmental administrations wage a spoken war on single use plastic, plastic manufacturers are building out capacity based on expected booming demand in Asia and in Europe.

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“So, what is the answer? As the saying goes, sometimes it’s staring you in the face.”

Plastic: A never-ending story opens at 10am on Thursday 20 June and runs until Sunday in the Pier Store opposite the Shetland Museum and Archives. Opening times are Thursday to Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 12am-5pm.

FOLLOWING on from last year’s success, the Church of Scotland in close cooperation with other churches and faiths in Shetland, is organising another fun run this coming Saturday in support of charity.

The Colour Challenge 2019 requires participants to walk or run either 5K or 10K starting from the Cunningsburgh Hall at 10am.

There is no registration fee but donations for the Cunningsburgh Youth Club and the Compassion UK charity are most welcome. 

There are five colour points along the route where participants will have coloured powder thrown on them. These powders are biodegradable and wash off easily. Folk are asked to wear white t-shirts if they want to be covered in powder. If not, they are asked to give the colour stations a ‘wide berth’.


The route will initially head south from the Cunningsburgh Hall, crossing the main road between the Cunningsburgh Church of Scotland and the Blett turn off and then heading back to the hall via the village’s side roads. Marshalls will help participants cross the main road. Motorists are asked to be aware of this event and to slow down.

Registration starts from 9am and teas, soup and sweets will be available at the Cunningsburgh Hall until 2pm.

THE PUBLIC engagement regional co-ordinator of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission will be in Shetland next Monday to give a talk on the work and history of the organisation.

Patricia Keppie will give a 50 minute talk, followed by a question and answer session, at the Islesburgh Community Centre in Lerwick on 24 June starting at 7pm.


THE SIMMER issue of The New Shetlander features among many other contributions two major articles by two new contributors to the quarterly magazine.

In Fair Isle knitting: some Whalsay pattern names, Bronwen Cohen, who lived for a time in Whalsay in the 1970s concentrates on the Fair Isle pattern names she learned from the late Bella Arthur

David Critchley meanwhile tells the story of The uncommon talent of John R. Sutherland who lived between 1871 and 1933 and who had specialised in heraldic design and who “deserves to be better known”.

Local broadcaster Mary Blance writes an appreciation of the late Derick Herning, giving readers glimpses of Derick’s full and unusual life.

Priced £3, number 288 of The New Shetlander is now in the shops.

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