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History / Full funding in place for reconstruction of historic slipway and boat cradle

The Prince Olav slipway in Scalloway. Photo: Hanc1, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

CONSTRUCTION of a replica wartime boat cradle to honour the Shetland Bus operation is now going ahead after funding was secured for its costs.

The proposal is to replace the current steel cradle at the Prince Olav slipway in Scalloway, which was built in the 1970s, is no longer in use and corroding.

It will be replaced with a replica of the one which was built in 1942 and used there during the Second World War.

The slipway will also be refurbished as part of the project.

It was used during the Second World War to carry out essential repairs to boats used in the covert Shetland Bus operation.

The project is being led by the Shetland Bus Friendship Society and the Scalloway Museum.

Almost half of the money needed for the project has come from ‘Friends in Norway’ following a donation of nearly £50,000 which was handed over at a friendship event in Scalloway this summer.

Norway ties strengthened with ‘historic’ friendship agreement

In a post on its website, the Scalloway Museum said the reconstructed cradle – and slipway refurbishment – will “capture a unique moment in the history of Shetland and Norway, and further strengthen the friendship between the two countries”.

The idea for the project was pushed forward by the mayor of Øygarden in Norway, Børge Haugetun, following a trip to Shetland in 2018.

The Scalloway Museum was assisted in the design process by retired engineers George and Raymond Sinclair who had operated the slipway in the years following the war when it was used for repairing fishing boats.

Community councils across Shetland have also contributed funding, as has the Gerry Holdsworth Special Forces Charitable Trust.

Local engineering firm Malakoff, which works from the shipyard next to the slipway, is carrying out the reconstruction.

Located not too far from the Shetland Bus memorial on Scalloway’s Main Street, the hope is that the project will be of interest to both locals and visitors as they delve into the village’s wartime history.

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