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Community / Joy as Junior Up Helly Aa wins national award

Junior jarl Oran McCulloch (left) and squad member Robbie Sutherland.

THE JUNIOR Up Helly Aa festival has won a national award celebrating intergenerational relationships across Scotland.

It was awarded the Generations Working Together Encouraging Reciprocal Learning Award at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Tuesday night.

Representing the festival in the Scottish capital were junior jarl Oran McCulloch, junior jarl squad member Robbie Sutherland as well as Martin Summers and Ryan Jamieson from the Junior Up Helly Aa committee.

Once the announcement was made at the award ceremony, a short film was shown about the intergenerational work ongoing in the festival.

McCulloch said: “We were just happy to be nominated, so to win is a real shock.

“I’m so proud to be part of Junior Up Helly Aa and be from Shetland. We couldn’t have done with without all our parents and festival volunteers, so thank you for helping us through the winter.

“And thank you for making it an experience me and my squad will never forget. Three cheers for Junior Up Helly Aa.”

Martin Summers, chairperson of Junior Up Helly Aa, said: “We’re still a bit surprised. They say it takes a village to raise our young folk, and Junior Up Helly Aa/Up Helly Aa couldn’t be better examples.

“This award is for all the young people and volunteers involved in Junior Up Helly Aa since 1956. Thanks to Beatrice Wishart MSP for attending the awards to support us.”

Committee member Ryan Jamieson added: “This was a great event, we are privileged to be a part of something that is so rewarding, especially when Junior Up Helly Aa receives recognition for all the intergenerational work from a national organisation.

“It was great to hear from so many people in one night the interested in what Up Helly Aa is all about.”

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart congratulated the festival on her social media, where she reflected on a “fantastic night with Junior Up Helly Aa in the Scottish Parliament”.

She said the two young jarl squad members “did Shetland proud”

The Junior Up Helly Aa team wished to thank all those who help make the event happen, from companies and the senior Up Helly Aa to venues to parents and extended family.

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