Hopefully, our much loved Up Helly Aa, celebrating togetherness and heritage, returns in January 2023. It will be different, as last week the Up Helly Aa committee announced the ban on women and girls taking part in squads is removed.
Whilst many are celebrating this, others are disappointed – change is tough and can feel uncomfortable with a sense of loss.
As a Shetlander of 40 years, most of them contributing to Up Helly Aa and many as a hostess, I’ve been aware of tensions between these two perspectives. However, this change was inevitable. Women and girls should have the same choice as men and boys.
Well done to those who have campaigned for Up Helly Aa to become more inclusive and fairer and to the committee in taking the right decision to support equity and diversity.
At our point in history, we have the challenge and the opportunity of navigating through these changes to build Up Helly Aa into an even better version of what it is today. We can do it together. Shetland now looks bolder and brighter.