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News round-up / MRI appeal hits £500k, wildlife film festival, election hustings, Redd Up total

Receiving a cheque for £3,200 for the MRI appeal at Jamieson's of Shetland on earlier this month. Left to right: Billy Middleton, Harriet Middleton (MRI Maakers), Elaine Jamieson and Garry Jamieson. Photo: Gordon Siegal

THE SHETLAND MRI scanner appeal has now reached the £500,000 milestone.

This means that the appeal is almost one third of the way towards the final goal of £1.65 million.

A number of donations have been received in the last month, including more than £6,000 from sales of daffodil and tulip bulbs, with valuable support coming from Shetland schools.

Around £4,000 came in from the Whalsay Gala, while £2,500 was donated from PJ Hurson Garage Services in Ollaberry.

Earlier this year £100,000 was pledged from seven Whalsay pelagic fishing families, while the MRI Maakers knitting appeal has now raised over £66,000.

Derek Hart, the new MRI scanner fundraising manager, said: “This is £504,148 that has been raised by local individuals, groups and businesses and shows a deep commitment to this project and what it will mean for people living in the islands.

“Our next step is to engage with large-scale funders after which we will take stock and see who else we can approach and what more needs to be done.”


A TOURING wildlife film festival is set to visit Shetland on Tuesday evening.

The Wilderland Film Festival will set up shop in Mareel and nine short nature films will be screened.

They range from a film about creating the world’s first artificially induced African penguin colony to a short about a young cuttlefish as she learns to hunt in a new home after a life-changing encounter with a diver.

The festival is organised by zoologist filmmakers Dan O’Neill and Isaac Rice, who recruited acclaimed wildlife filmmakers to whittle down a shortlist of over 50 short films to nine.

Both O’Neill and Rice will host and introduce each film live onstage.


A SPECIAL election hustings will be hosted by the Althing debating group later this month.

The event will take place at Lerwick Town Hall on 22 November from 7pm ahead of the general election on 12 December.

Organiser Karen Fraser said the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and Labour have so far been confirmed to attend, with more parties hoped to be announced soon.

A somewhat related scheduled Althing debate will take place at Islesburgh on 15 November, with the topic set as ‘politicians should be legally liable for their decisions’.

Speaking for the motion will be Vic Thomas and Iain Souter, with Dennis Leask and Johan Adamson speaking against.


THE WEIGHT of bruck collected at this year’s Da Voar Redd Up was 48 tonnes – over 12 tonnes less than in previous clean-ups.

The number of people involved and hours put in, however, had not reduced.

Shetland Amenity Trust head of engagement Sandy Middleton said there could be a number of factors for the drop in weight.

“Many of the groups reported that they spent much of their time this year collecting micro-plastics and small bits of fishing nets which is really time consuming,” she said.

“These items weigh far less than the big bulky items but in some ways are far more important for us to collect as they are the ones that cause greatest risk to our wildlife.

“We also had less big storms this year directly before the clean-up so there may have been less large items on the beaches. We are also seeing more and more people doing mini beach cleans year round which may have helped.”

General Election - 12 December 2019