That the Parliament congratulates Matt Webb on his recent retirement as Orkney's Chief Inspector; understands Matt has been Orkney's area commander for three and a half years, and will be retiring after 30 years of distinguished service with the police; recognises Matt's commitment to Orkney, and his willingness to work collaboratively with a range of local organisations on behalf of the community; notes, in particular, his efforts in establishing and chairing the White Ribbon Scotland Orkney group, aimed at highlighting and tackling men’s violence against women; looks forward to Chief Inspector Alistair Garrow taking on the role in Orkney, and wishes Matt all the very best for a long, happy and well-earned retirement.
That the Parliament welcomes the report issued on 27 May 2021 by Orkney Islands Council, highlighting the significant and positive impact that would be derived from the installation of a new electricity transmission connection between the islands and the mainland, as proposed by Scottish and Southern Energy Networks to the energy regulator, Ofgem; understands that the predicted economic impact accruing to Orkney would range from £371 million to £807 million, and to Scotland would be between £606 million and £1.48 billion; believes that the transmission connection is essential to overcome the current block on the development of further renewables projects in Orkney and to protect associated high-value local jobs; recognises its potential to help deliver net zero ambitions for the islands, and Scotland as a whole, by providing a route to market for the world-leading marine renewable industry in Orkney, led by activity at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), and acknowledges that it is a vital prerequisite of Orkney’s ambitions for renewables innovation and, due to the unique ownership structure of Orkney’s Community Wind Farm Project, to securing financial sustainability for public services across the islands.
That the Parliament welcomes the confirmation that Orkney has been voted Scotland's best island in the Which? survey of Scotland's islands; recognises that Orkney took the top spot with 88% approval from the 1,058 members surveyed; acknowledges that Shetland came a close second place, achieving an 86% approval rating with Harris, Islay and Mull each receiving a visitor score of 85%, putting them in joint third place; understands that factors such as tourist attractions, food and drink, ease of travel, and quality of beaches and scenery were taken into consideration, with 10 out of the 14 islands considered achieving over 80% approval; notes that while Scotland’s waters are home to approximately 800 islands, Which? Travel readers rated only 14, highlighting how undiscovered and uninhabited many of the islands still are; further notes that Orkney was praised for its “beautiful” scenery and friendly locals in the survey responses; thanks everyone associated with tourism, hospitality and travel in Orkney for helping achieve such well-deserved recognition, and looks forward to Scotland’s wonderful islands being able to welcome back more visitors in the months and years ahead.
That the Parliament congratulates the Shapinsay Development Trust on the success of its pop-up charity shop, Cast Affs; recognises that over £1,500 has been raised so far; understands the shop, which is based in the Smithy, is supplied by donations and employs one member of staff with volunteer input; notes that it is entering its tenth week after a successful eight-week pilot; acknowledges that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, inter-island travel has been restricted, meaning that access to goods provided on the mainland has been limited; commends the ingenuity of the Development Trust to respond to the needs of families and help raise funds, with proceeds going to charities in Shapinsay; thanks Alison Meason, Lynsey Leslie and everyone who has helped by volunteering and donating to the project, and wishes them, and the project, all the very best for the future.
That the Parliament congratulates the Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC on his installation as moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on Saturday 22 May 2021 at the General Assembly Hall in Edinburgh; acknowledges the significant contribution and commitment of the outgoing moderator, the Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, in the service of the church to sustain its life and witness during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic; recognises that Jim Wallace, a member of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, is only the second elder in modern times to take the office of moderator; notes Jim’s lifelong commitment to public service, particularly during his time in the Scottish and UK Parliaments, including as MP for Orkney and Shetland, MSP for Orkney and as Deputy First Minister, and wishes Jim and his wife Rosie a successful, fruitful and enjoyable year in office as he represents the church at home and abroad.
That the Parliament commemorates the 80th anniversary of the sinking of HMS Hood, which occurred on 24 May 1941; recognises that only three of her 1,418-strong crew survived the battle in the Denmark Strait; acknowledges that HMS Hood weighed anchor and sailed out of Scapa Flow in Orkney before her last voyage and was considered to be one of the most powerful battlecruisers afloat at that time; understands that a series of online events organised by Another Orkney Production in conjunction with the Orkney International Science Festival will commemorate the anniversary; notes that the online events will be broadcasted on the Orkney International Science Festival YouTube channel, including a discussion involving Captain Christ Smith, Cdr William Sutherland, Cdr David Hobbs and Rob White, chaired by Howie Firth, and wishes success to all involved in the commemorations.
That the Parliament welcomes the Virtually Orkney Folk Festival 2021, which will run online from 27 to 30 May; recognises that this will be the second virtual festival in the event’s 39-year history following its hugely successful Big Lockdown Special last year; understands that it will be streamed on the Orkney Folk Festival Facebook page featuring performances and a series of interviews about stalwarts of the local music scene titled Orkney Folky Folk, compiled by Kristan Harvey and Jeana Leslie; commends the Festival Committee on adapting to current circumstances and organising the programme to ensure that people in Orkney and around the world will be able to enjoy and stay connected to this popular and internationally-renowned festival; hopes that the virtual festival will also allow new audiences to be reached and generate a wider interest in folk music, paving the way for the festival to continue growing for years to come, and wishes everyone involved a successful virtual festival, full of great entertainment and the creation of more wonderful memories.
That the Parliament congratulates Frazer Campbell on his retirement as Service Director at the Orkney Blide Trust; understands that Frazer was on his third career, having served in the Royal Navy for eight years and the Police for a further 18 years, after which he has given an invaluable service to the Orkney third sector, both at Advocacy Orkney and latterly at the Orkney Blide Trust; notes that Frazer was appointed as Service Director at the Orkney Blide Trust in 2012 and led a committed team, providing exceptional mental health and wellbeing support to a wide range of individuals within the local community; recalls that the Orkney Blide Trust won the Faculty of Public Health in Scotland Community Medal in 2016, in recognition of the efforts of the team under Frazer’s leadership; thanks Frazer for his commitment, service and all-round contribution to the Orkney third sector over the years, particularly in relation to supporting those with mental health needs, and wishes him all the very best for a long, happy and well-earned retirement.
That the Parliament welcomes efforts to locate original copies of George Mackay Brown’s first collection of his works, The Storm and Other Poems, ahead of the centenary of his birth later in 2021; recognises the Orkney-born writer as one of Scotland’s greatest poets and the importance that this collection had in shaping his later world-renowned work; notes that BBC Radio Orkney is supporting the George Mackay Brown Fellowship in its search for the 300 original copies that were printed in 1954 and plans to broadcast a special programme based on the research in the autumn; thanks the Fellowship for its work to promote new creative writing through writing residencies, literary events and workshops and for celebrating Orkney writers, past and present, and encourages the public to get involved with the search and the centenary celebrations.
That the Parliament recognises the work of over 25,000 members of the public who have signed up as Community Reserve Volunteers with the British Red Cross to provide essential support to communities across Scotland in response to COVID-19; acknowledges that their efforts are part of the Scotland Cares campaign, which encourages people who are healthy and not at risk to volunteer to provide practical or emotional support in their communities; recognises that 14 Community Reserve Volunteers have been working with the British Red Cross in Orkney to support out-of-hours GP services and, in May 2020 alone, provided 461 hours of voluntary support to NHS Orkney as on-call drivers to transport GPs to calls and help them with the application and removal of their PPE; believes that the contribution of volunteers in a number of essential roles across Scotland is a vital part of the overall response to COVID-19, including for keeping communities safe and protecting the most vulnerable; thanks all Community Reserve Volunteers for their exceptional acts of kindness and willingness to go above and beyond in order to put the needs of others first during this challenging time; pays tribute to these efforts as part of Volunteers Week 2020, which celebrates the invaluable role that volunteers play in all aspects of daily life, and wishes all volunteers the very best as they continue to make a real difference to the lives of others.