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Also in the news / Lifeboat pennant, exam results help, visitor levy consultation and more…

Stephen Manson, Coxswain (right) presents a plaque from RNLI Lerwick to Len Webb as a gift to Coastguard Whangarei in New Zealand. Photo: RNLI Lerwick

A COASTGUARD volunteer from New Zealand with Shetland connections has presented a pennant recognising the friendship between his homeland search and rescue organisation and RNLI Lerwick.

Len Webb lives in Whangarei, around 90 miles north of Auckland on the north island of New Zealand. He has been in Shetland for the last three months visiting his son Craig Webb, who is a crew member on Lerwick Lifeboat.

Len Webb is a volunteer with Coastguard Whangarei, a volunteer-led maritime search and rescue unit and part of the Royal New Zealand Coastguard, a national charity with a mission to saves lives at sea.

Lerwick Lifeboat coxswain Stephen Manson said: “We’re grateful to Len for his gift of friendship and it’s been a pleasure to meet him while he’s been in Shetland visiting his son Craig, who’s also one of our volunteer crew.

“We may be many thousands of miles apart but our two national charities have the same purpose – to save lives at sea.”

SCHOOL PUPILS across the isles are anticipating the arrival of their exam results next week.

Students in secondary four to six will receive their results for National, Higher and Advanced Higher classes next Tuesday (8 August).

It can be a stressful day for a variety of reasons, but Skills Development Scotland is seeking to reassure young folk with its helpline service.

The helpline will be live from 8am on results day and can be reached on 0808 100 8000.

Careers advisers will be on hand for anyone that needs advice on their next steps if their results are not what they were expecting.

Education secretary Jenny Gilruth said: “Results day can be a very emotional one for pupils, parents and carers, so the opportunity to speak directly with someone who can offer impartial, expert advice on your options can be really valuable.

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“Whatever your results, there are options out there for you.”

The line will be open from 8am to 8pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, then 9am to 5pm on Thursday and Friday.

THE DIVISIVE visitor levy bill – dubbed the ‘tourist tax’ – is now seeking input from local businesses and communities to decide if the proposal should move forward.

Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands Ariane Burgess.

The potential piece of legislation would allow local authorities to add an additional charge to overnight accommodation stays. The practice is already common in much of Europe.

MSP Ariane Burgess said: “Shetland has an incredible and unique tourist offering in the North Sea, which is reflected in rising visitor numbers, bringing in vital investment to the islands, supporting local businesses and jobs.

“The committee wants to hear what people who visit, live or work in Shetland think of the Visitor Levy Bill, which would allow the local authority to introduce an additional charge when someone pays for overnight accommodation if it chooses to do so.”

Views can be submitted here until 15 September.

A MAN that travelled the coastline of the UK – including Shetland – has now completed his journey.

Coastline walker Chris Lewis and his dog Jet. Image: Chris Walks the UK Facebook page

Ex-paratrooper Chris Lewis set off from Wales in August 2017 to raise money for the Soldiers’, Sailors’, and Airmen’s Families Association (SSAFA).

He came to Shetland just before the first Covid lockdown in 2020 and he ended up staying on the uninhabited island of Hildasay for three months.

Lewis has now raised more than £510,000 over the past six years and he even received a letter from the King upon completion of his walk.

He told the crowd that gathered in Wales to see him: “Have a goal, have a dream and stay focused.”

Since setting off on his trip Lewis has released the book Finding Hildasay and also found himself a partner – becoming a dad in the process too.

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