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News round-up / More ferry disruptions, decarbonising conference, baby boxes delivered, heartburn warning

STORM Dennis continues to make its presence felt in forcing NorthLink to make alterations to its ferry and cargo ship timetables.

The Hjaltland goes into dry dock on Monday, while the Hrossey's sailings are expected to be subject to weather disruption this week.

Monday night’s northbound sailing to Lerwick has now been rescheduled to depart Aberdeen at 10pm, although check-in times remain the same from 5pm to 6.30pm. Arrival at Lerwick will be around 10am on Tuesday.

The southbound sailing will depart Lerwick as scheduled but it could be late in arriving at Aberdeen the following morning.

The Lerwick to Aberdeen service of the freighter Hildasay has now been cancelled, as have all NorthLink services across the Pentland Firth.

A detailed hour-by-hour weather forecast for Shetland can be found at our weather pages at  www.shetnews.co.uk/weather

IT LOOKS as though Orkney is again one step ahead of Shetland in talking about decarbonising the islands and working towards a sustainable future.

The Sustainable Orkney Conference, to be held in the Pickaquoy Centre in Kirkwall from 20 to 22 March, seeks to bring together local experts and local people interested and motivated by the issue.

Organiser Orkney Renewable Energy Forum said the event was planned “to use the local knowledge and expertise from within Orkney and to better connect people”.

OREF chairman Neil Kermode said: “When we know where we are and who is doing what, we will find it easier to work out what to do next.

“Orcadians know best what is happening in Orkney right now. But sometimes that information is a bit hard to find, or people are beavering away on their own.

“This is a chance to tell people what they are doing and to recruit others to participate, to share their experiences and learn.”

MORE than 500 baby boxes have been delivered to new parents across Shetland, according to Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Maree Todd.

The minister for children and early learning said that 96 per cent of the isles’ expectant parents were benefitting from the Scottish Government initiative.

Scotland’s baby box contains a selection of clothes, as well as every day must-haves like a bath towel, a travel changing mat, muslin cloth squares, a bib, a digital thermometer, and books.

“At the heart of the Baby Box is a message about tackling inequality, improving health and supporting new parents – which is why I’m delighted to see that 511 have been sent to families across Shetland,” Todd said.

“That’s a huge vote of confidence in the baby box, which will be vitally important in our efforts to ensure that all children get the best start in life.”

THE CHARITY Action Against Heartburn is highlighting the danger of developing oesophageal (or gullet) cancer, the fourth most common cause of cancer death among men in Scotland, and one with the lowest five-year survival rate.

Charity volunteer Belinda Richards, from Orkney, has been raising awareness of getting persistent heartburn checked out by a GP.

Around 10 per cent of those suffering from persistent heartburn develop a condition called dysplasia which is a precursor to cancer. However, it can be successfully treated before a cancer develops

“Don’t keep taking Gaviscon or Nexium for month after month without seeing your GP to discuss underlying causes. This disease tends to affect men aged 50 and over, and some men are reluctant to visit their doctors, so this is also a message for womenfolk,” she said.

Action Against Heartburn is a campaign by eighteen charities promoting earlier diagnosis of oesophageal cancer. For more information visit www.actionagainstheartburn.org.uk or contact the campaign’s chairman Alan Moss via alanmoss32@gmail.com.