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Also in the news / Laptops for Aith, alcohol death rate, development coordinator for Scalloway and more…

Adults: Teacher Ingrid Smith, Robbie Coutts, area support manager for Scottish Sea Farms. Pupils: Ashley Hunter, Mattie Clark, Shona Hunter, Eva Clark, Jack Johnston, Gene Smith, Finn Burgess, Marley Inkster. Photo: Gordon Siegel

AITH Junior High School will soon be able to deliver computer-based teaching to all pupils following a donation from salmon farming company Scottish Sea Farms and Lerwick-based gas supplier Rearo Supplies.

A shortage of laptops at the 230-pupil school had made online learning in the classroom a struggle, with up to half of pupils unable to participate in some lessons.

“There has been talk of government laptops, but they haven’t materialised yet. The educational authorities saying we’ll do this in four or five years is no good to the children going through school now,” said school dad and parent council representative Jimmy Mercer.

Mercer approached Scottish Sea Farms’ Heart of the Community Trust initiative, which agreed to donate £5,000, with Mr Mercer is contributing a further £2,000 from his own business Rearo Supplies.

‘This money from Heart of the Community is an absolute game changer,’ he said. ‘We’ve been able to buy 16 laptops with a charging trolley, which charges up the computers between lessons.

Scottish Sea Farms Northern Isles regional manager Richard Darbyshire said: “Ensuring every child has access to a laptop is a very worthwhile use of our Heart of the Community funding.”


SHETLAND has the lowest death rate from alcohol misuse of all Scottish local authorities, according to a new report from the National Records of Scotland, published on Tuesday.

Over a five year period (2016 to 2020) there were ten “alcohol specific” deaths per 100,000 population in Shetland, slightly less than what has been recorded in Aberdeenshire and the Scottish borders.

In comparison, the alcohol specific death rate is consistently higher in Orkney and the Western Isles.

In total, there were 1,190 alcohol-specific deaths registered in Scotland in 2020, an increase of 17 per cent, but still fewer than deaths from illegal drug misuse as figure published last month have shown.

There are twice as many male deaths as female, and the alcohol-specific death rate in deprived areas is 4.1 times more than the least deprived areas.


SCALLOWAY Community Development Company (SCDC) have appointed chartered construction manager Stewart Douglas as development coordinator, heading up the delivery of new projects in the village.

SCDC chair Davie Sandison welcomed the appointment, and the expertise Stewart brings to the organisation.

“Stewart brings a wealth of experience in construction design and project management which will be invaluable in delivering our current and future projects on time and within budget,” Sandison said.

The appointment follows the Recreate Scalloway exercise and has been made to assist SCDC deliver the current ongoing study to identify feasible development plans for the regeneration and development of Scalloway for the benefit of the local community.


ANYONE needing a “pit stop” when nature calls can now access an interactive map containing the locations of every public toilet in Shetland.

The digital map already included a list of attractions, beauty spots and facilities like campsites, marinas and play parks.

Promote Shetland has now refreshed it and added more details, including a list of 46 public toilets across Shetland.


ARE YOU the fastest person in Shetland? Rotary Club of Shetland is giving you a chance to prove it.

The club is hosting a static exercise bike in the Lerwick Co-op car park between 9am and 5pm on 4 September, offering people the chance to try to travel 500 metres in the shortest time.

Entry is £1 and money raised will go towards the charity Prostate Scotland.

The fastest will win a month’s free subscription to a gym at a leisure centre of their choice.