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Also in the news / Changing Places toilet at airport, jumping seal, new dental consultant and more…

Harry Pitt (Sumburgh Airport operations manager), Stephanie Bain (Ability Shetland), and May Macdonald (parent and trustee at Ability Shetland) with Dylan Macdougall at the opening of the facility.Photo: Ability Shetland

A CHANGING Places toilet has been opened at Sumburgh Airport, allowing people with disabilities and their families to feel confident to travel knowing that the right equipment is available to them should they require it.

The project to install the specialist toilet at the airport was a joint venture between airport operator HIAL and the Ability Shetland charity. The work to install the toilet was carried out by Ness Engineering.

The toilet was opened last Friday by Dylan Macdougall and his mum May Macdonald.

She said: “Dylan hasn’t flown for years, as without a suitable bathroom, it simply wasn’t an option for us. Dylan loves to get away and this opens up so many more opportunities for him.”

Stephanie Bain of Ability Shetland said: “Having access to toilet facilities is a basic human right and the impact on disabled people’s social lives by not having these available are huge as it limits where they and their families can go and when.”

The specialist toilet at Sumburgh Airport has been registered officially on the Changing Places website where information about each specific toilet across the UK can be found.

TOURISTS on board a wildlife tour boat in Lerwick Harbour got the fright of their life on Tuesday morning when a large seal came a little bit too close for comfort.

The boat, belonging to Shetland Seabird Tours, was just about to leave the berth at Lerwick’s small boats harbour when the grey seal jumped clear of the water and appeared to be trying to board the high speed RIB.

Lerwick resident Alexandra Aida was walking past with her daughter at exactly the right moment and was lucky enough to catch the scene on her mobile phone.

She said: “The big seal is one that I know, it has a wound on her neck.

“The seal just wanted some fish; it didn’t want to attack people.”

There are quite a few tame and overfed seals living in Lerwick Harbour which benefit from scraps.

NHS Shetland has confirmed that consultant orthodontic services will continue to be provided in the isles after securing the services of Professor Grant McIntyre.

Professor McIntyre is the clinical director for the hospital dental service in NHS Tayside and consultant orthodontist at Dundee Dental Research Hospital & School, Perth Royal Infirmary and Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.

He will continue to offer the face-to-face and virtual clinic service for patients as well as support senior dental officer, Wayne Badier, through the remainder of his orthodontic training.

Director of dentistry Antony Visocchi said: “Not only is this a huge coup for NHS Shetland but this will provide long term security for the orthodontic service in Shetland.

“With the impending retirement of our current orthodontic consultant, we were faced with a challenge to maintain this service for Shetland.

“Not only does Professor McIntyre’s appointment allow this service to be maintained, but it also contributes to the ongoing further training of our own dentists and offers the opportunity to grow the service.”

A DOCUMENTARY that features local experiences of the pandemic and the post-lockdown period is being shown in the Bressay Lighthouse daily until 15 May.

The 22-minute ‘docufilm’ Community Voices: Memories and Stories of Island People has been produced and edited by not-for-profit organisation Curious Pilgrims.

“Project participants have been very generous in sharing their unique experiences through their contributions, and when curating their work and editing the docufilm I wanted to treat these contributions with due sensitivity,” said filmmaker Renzo Spiteri.

Community Voices is being screened daily on loop between 10am and 5pm at the Bressay Lighthouse until Sunday 15 May. No booking is required and the suggested donation for entry is £5 per person.

Further information about the project is available through the website www.curiouspilgrims.com

THE SCOTTISH aquaculture industry has welcomed a commitment from the Scottish Government to reform the regulatory system that governs the sector.

Speaking at the Aquaculture UK conference in Aviemore today, rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon promised “rapid progress” on streamlining the current system, as recommended in the recent independent review by Professor Russel Griggs.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of industry body Salmon Scotland, said government officials and regulators can be in no doubt as to the direction of travel.

“Professor Griggs recommended that a reformed regulatory framework should be delivered within 12 months and the strong message coming from Aviemore is that we must all work together to deliver this vision.”