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Relief At Last

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With todays announcement in the Commons by Shipping Minister Mike Penning, I and my colleagues can breathe a huge sigh of relief that finally it has been confirmed that we have saved our station from threatened closure. Almost a year has passed since the initial announcement was made in December last year and I don't mind telling you that we have all been through hell. From my own perspective, if the closure went ahead, I stood to lose everything I had worked so hard for over the past twenty-odd years, including my first house which I only bought 3 years ago and many of my colleagues were in the same boat. To have that threat removed is, as you can imagine, a great relief.

What made it all worthwhile for me was the tremendous support we received from our community both here in Shetland and down in Orkney. If the Govt/MCA thought that small island communities were a pushover, they were clearly labouring under a serious misapprehension! Also, I'm very proud of the fact that, despite the MCA's ridiculous attempt to set one community against another by saying either Shetland OR Stornoway would close with the other reduced to "daytime only" status, both stations and communities stood together as one and said "no" to the proposals. It is gratifying to note that Mr.Penning stated in the Commons today that the support for retaining both Shetland and Stornoway was "overwhelming."

It has been a very busy and exhausting year for me as, right from the get-go, I was heavily involved in the campaign to save the station. I am deeply honoured and humbled that my colleagues thought highly enough of me to both elect me as one of their 3 Trade Union Representatives (Branch Treasurer for the Shetland Branch of the Public & Commercial Services Union - PCS) and asked me to speak on their behalf before the House of Commons Transport Select Committee when they took evidence in Stornoway earlier this year. It is something I never in my life expected to have to do and I'm immensely proud to have represented such skilled and dedicated professionals.

Hopefully we can now have a bit of a party, celebrate and relax after a tough time for all of us but while we do so, it is always with a thought for our colleagues around the coast who have not had such good news today. These are people I have met, been on courses with, had a laugh and a few beers with but whats more important, they are highly trained, highly skilled, dedicated life-savers, the best of the best.
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Was listening to the announcement on the radio this morning and did give out a little cheer for you Bob!

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I do not know you personally Bob, but in the words of Rihanna, I'll drink to that.

Seriously good news for you and once again this proves the current governments' judgement is once again wrong. One particular MP has even resorted to calling folk like you or I who stand up for our rights, zombies.

See [url="http://vimeo.com/32529385"]http://vimeo.com/32529385[/url] for more on that.

Kind Regards


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