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Also in the news / Lifeboat donation, power off, business concern and more…

From left to right: Living Lerwick chair Steve Mathieson, Linda Simpson and Georgina Grant of the Ladies Lifeboat Guild., Edna Irvine Living Lerwick director and owner of Smith & Robertson,. Lorna Millham. Photo: Living Lerwick

TOWN centre organisation Living Lerwick has been able to present a cheque for £2,250 to the Lerwick Lifeboat following a successful Santa’s Grotto event in the run-up to Christmas.

The grotto, a winter wonderland held in the reception area of the RSM UK offices on Commercial Street, made a welcome return in 2022 after it had been cancelled the year before due to the high Covid numbers and public welfare concern. 

Over two weekends Santa welcomed almost 300 bairns while volunteers from the Lerwick Ladies Lifeboat Guild assisted with the handing out of gifts.

A small percentage of the income was used to cover the cost of gifts, along with a contribution from Living Lerwick. 

Living Lerwick project manager Emma Miller said: “We were so pleased to be able to bring the grotto back this year as it’s so popular with the bairns. They all know we have the real Santa and he just fairly loves his Lerwick grotto weekends as a break before Christmas.

“The support we get from the Lerwick lifeboat ladies is just fantastic and we want to thank them very much for the time they put in to help raise this money for our local lifeboat, which delivers Santa each year to the parade.  

“We also like to thank RSM for allowing us to use their building and Harry’s for their help in supplying the hundreds of gifts.”

HOUSEHOLDS and businesses in several areas in Shetland, including Whalsay and some parts of Vidlin, had no power for some time on Friday as SSEN’s ongoing repair of the electricity network following December’s widespread damage continued across the isles.

The electricity distribution company said earlier this week that repair work to its network in Shetland would take some months to complete.

More than 5,000 customers lost power last month, some for as long as six days, when wet snow and ice brought down power lines in several areas of the isles.

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A spokesperson for SSEN Distribution said: “I can confirm that the power was off in those areas earlier today to allow our teams to carry out these essential repairs safely.

“Our customer service teams had contacted all of the properties in advance to let them know; I can also confirm that all of the properties are now back on supply.”

THE FEDERATION of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned that the UK Government’s reduced energy price support, announced earlier this week, is likely to have a severe effect on smaller businesses in the Highlands and Islands area.

The FSB’s development manager for the area David Richardson said the news has “sent a ripple of fear” through many businesses in Shetland and wider Highlands and Islands.

“The reduced support is very obviously going to hit smaller firms’ pockets hard, for it is totally insufficient for all, and especially for energy-hungry businesses like those in tourism and hospitality, food and drink processing, manufacturing, and so on.”

Richardson said the organisation’s own research has indicated that as many as a quarter of small businesses believed they would need to close, downsize or radically restructure if a cliff edge were to happen. 

“And here we are with a cliff edge, the capping stopping one day and the discounting starting the next,” he said.

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have criticised the comments from the SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn that the controversial Cambo oil field should get the green light.

Campaigners say the SNP should end the “deliberate ambiguity” around oil and gas that the party leadership needs to get its position clear on climate-wrecking fossil fuels.

The comments come just days after the Scottish Government unveiled their draft new Energy Strategy which is consulting on whether to adopt a position against new oil and gas exploration. 

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s head of campaigns Mary Church said: “The evidence is even clearer now than it was in 2021 when the first minister spoke out in opposition to the Cambo oil field: new oil and gas extraction is not compatible with a liveable future.”

THE LINE-up for Shetland Arts’ Fiery Sessions event on the day of Lerwick’s Up Helly Aa has been released.

Andy Kain, Kirmirren, CRAC, Ewen, Martha and Harry Thomson and the Lomond Ceilidh Band will perform at the Garrison Theatre.

There will be performances at 12pm and 3pm on Tuesday 31 January, with tickets available online.

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