THE ORGANISERS of next summer’s Tall Ships have issued an additional appeal for volunteers interested in becoming a liaison officer for the four-day event ahead of next week’s deadline for applications.
Shetland Tall Ships Ltd said there had been a very healthy response within the community so far, with more than 40 applications and many more notes of interest.
Up to 90 liaison officers will act as the islands’ representatives for visiting crews during the event, which takes place from 26-29 July 2023, and the deadline for applying to be a liaison officer is next Friday (11 November).
A further 70-plus volunteers are also being sought to cover event information points, help out at park-and-ride sites, offer general marshalling, assist visiting musicians and artists and support Sail Training International’s team. Applications for those roles will be accepted until 13 January.
Shetland Tall Ships Ltd project manager Emma Miller said: “Volunteering at the Tall Ships event is a great way to really feel part of the whole thing – it’s more than just attending and enjoying the activities, music, food and company; it’s knowing that you have helped to deliver this incredible experience and make it a success for the thousands of others taking part.
“Whether it’s to add to your CV or just for the personal enjoyment, volunteering in any of the roles is a worthwhile and rewarding thing.”
Numerous folk who were involved in the volunteer effort for the past two Tall Ships visits to Lerwick are applying to sign up again.
One of them is David Smith, who said the role of a liaison officer was simple: to get your crew to the right place at the right time, answer questions, sort out problems and above all make the crew feel welcome in Shetland.
“I had such a great time in 1999 and 2011,” he said. “It’s a chance to meet folk and show off Shetland. To make sure they enjoy themselves for the short time they are here.”
Another stalwart of the local sailing scene including The Swan, Peter Campbell, was also involved as a liaison officer in both 1999 and 2011.
The Tall Ships has been part of his life since encountering the races while on a course in Bergen in the early 1990s – leading to him signing up on a French and then a UK boat.
His only regret is not taking the opportunity his parents offered him to sign up for the races at the age of 15: “I think it would have been life changing if I had. It’s had a big enough impact on me since,” he says.
Peter adds that the presence of supportive and well-informed liaison officers was critical to the success of the previous two Lerwick events, and he urges locals to sign up as volunteers: “It gives the feeling of belief and confidence in Shetland and gives folk something to look forward to.”