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Also in the news / Drama festival, licence extension, ferry workshops and much more…

Open Doors’ rehearsal for the play Twelve Night are well under way (left to right): Gary McAllister, Lynsey Rendall and Kevin Briggs.

THE BEST of local amateur drama will be on show over a whole week in March when the Shetland County Drama takes to the stage with a record number of entries.

A total of 18 plays will be on show in the Garrison Theatre in Lerwick over five nights from 11 to 15 March.

As usual, there will be a wide selection of plays from drama groups and schools from junior, youth and adult groups.

Tickets are set to go on sale on the Shetland Box Office this week.


THE BRAE Hall has been granted an hour’s extension to its licence for the Delting Up Helly Aa hop night in March.

The application to extend the hours from 1am to 2am on Sunday 17 March was approved by the Shetland Islands area licensing board on Monday.

The board heard that the applicant has advised that no alcohol sales will take place during this extended period.

The aim instead is to allow people to consume drinks already purchased and allow them to vacate the hall during through the hour rather than all at once.

Shetland West councillor Liz Peterson moved for the application to be approved, noting how it would be useful for folk to be able to wait in the hall while taxis are on their way.


TRANSPORT Scotland is holding a series of public events across Shetland to get feedback on the agency’s recently published Islands Connectivity Plan (ICP) and the updated Vessels and Ports Plan.  

All events include a structured workshop as well as a drop-in session. Registration in advance will be necessary, Transport Scotland said. The meetings are scheduled as follows:

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Lerwick – 4 March – Clickimin Leisure Complex 

  • Structured session 1. 13:30 – 15:00
  • Drop-in session 1. 15:00-15:30
  • Structured session 2. 17:30 – 19:00
  • Drop-in session 2. 19:30 – 20:00

Sumburgh – 5 March – Sumburgh Hotel 

  • Structured session 16:30 – 18:00
  • Drop-in session 18:00-18:30

Yell – 6 March – Venue TBC 

  1. Timings TBC

Whalsay – 7 March – Symbister Public Hall 

  • Structured session 15:30 – 17:00
  • Drop-in session 17:00-17:30

Brae – 8 March – Brae Hall 

  • Structured session 10:30 – 12:00
  • Drop-in session 12:00-12:30

In addition an online consultation is available via the Transport Scotland website which closes on 3 May 2024.


PATIENTS who live further away from cancer centres are likely to receive different care and experience worse outcomes, according to new research on patients in the north-east of Scotland and the Northern Isles.

NHS Shetland’s medical director Kirsty Brightwell.

The study by the University of Aberdeen calls for “better configuration of cancer services” across Scotland to address disparities in cancer care.

The team found that those living in Orkney and Shetland spent more time in hospital and attended fewer oncology outpatient appointments.

This was associated with a higher risk of death within a year of diagnosis compared to their mainland dwelling counterparts.

NHS Shetland medical director Dr Kirsty Brightwell said: “This study looks at data from 2007-2017 and a lot has changed since then, not least of all the changes put in place during the pandemic.

“We continue to work closely with colleagues in NHS Grampian to improve services and deliver as much as we can as close to people’s homes as possible whilst maintaining the quality of their experience and outcomes.”


HIGHLANDS and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has urged households in Shetland to check if they are eligible for a council tax reduction.

Shetland Islands Council has just decided to freeze council tax rates in return for a £520,000 payment from the Scottish Government.

Figures show that 1,070 local households were being supported through the council tax reduction scheme in December 2023.

Details of which households are eligible for a reduction to council tax bill can be found here.

The SNP politician said: “Supporting people through the cost-of-living crisis is the SNP Government’s top priority – and these figures show that the council tax reduction scheme is helping people in Shetland.”


LERWICK Port Authority has marked 100 years of cooperation with maritime civil engineering specialist Arch Henderson LLP in the development of the harbour.

In February 1924, Archibald Henderson, a founding partner of the Aberdeen company, was invited by the then Lerwick Harbour Trust board to discuss a project – the Alexandra Wharf scheme.

This was the beginning of the close relationship with the company that today operates throughout the UK and abroad, and has had a local office since 1982.

Port authority chief executive Calum Grains said: “As well as leading marine projects which have changed the face of the waterfront, Arch Henderson LLP has been instrumental in developing our port estate into a thriving hub for harbour users, adapting the land estate with new sites, roadways and upgraded infrastructure such as the ferry terminal and new fish market. Their efforts over a century are highly appreciated.”

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