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Folk encouraged to carry a torch for CLAN

Orktoberfest aims to bring a touch of Shetland’s fire festival to Orkney, as well as raise money for charity.

The organisers behind Orktoberfest, due to take place in Stromness this weekend, are encouraging folk to carry a torch for CLAN Cancer Support at Saturday night’s torchlight parade and bonfire.

The Orktoberfest parade aims to bring a hint of Shetland’s Up Helly Aa tradition to proceedings, as well as raise money for charity. By donating £10 or more, participants will receive a traditional fiery torch to carry during the event.

Beginning at 5pm at the Pierhead, the parade will march along to the South End, and at 6pm a bonfire, courtesy of Chris Thomas of Stenigar, will be lit on the shore at Ness. This will give folk a chance to see a jarl squad display galley, followed by the main event of the festival — a fiery procession and bonfire, with the South Mainland Jarl Squad and Stromness Royal British Legion Pipe Band.

The opportunity to join the walk, and carry a torch in support of CLAN Cancer Support, is being offered to all.

Gareth continued: “There was a very successful walk organised a couple of years ago during Shopping Week, and we are hoping to recreate in some small way that experience, with funds raised again going to support the invaluable work of CLAN.

“We have 200 torches available initially so, in the first instance, the aim is to raise £2,000 for CLAN, but volunteers will also have collection buckets on the night, and we are hoping for a good crowd of spectators in generous mood to warm the evening still further.”

According to Gareth, the torches are lightweight and specially designed for just this sort of fire festival.

“They can be carried by all ages, but we are asking that any young persons under the age of 14 be accompanied,” he explained.

Those who wish to join the walk and carry a torch need to register in advance, with a minimum donation of £10 required. Registration is open now online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/torchlightwalkstromness.

This can also be done at the CLAN shop in Kirkwall, and at the Ferry Inn and Royal Hotel in Stromness, where further information for participants will be given. Anyone wishing to volunteer to support the walk, help with the preparations for the galley and fire, or marshall and support at the event can contact garethcrichton@btinternet.com

  • Here at The Orcadian, we recently launched a CLAN fundraiser ourselves — with the aim of raising £10,000 to help the charity extend and enhance the support it offers within Orkney. Orktoberfest organiser Gareth Crichton has kindly agreed that all donations made into the charity buckets at the parade itself will go directly to our OUTREACH4CLAN campaign. You can also donate to this campaign by visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/orcadian-4-clan

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