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A Tribute to Allister Rendall

24 January 2022

Memories have been shared of the late Allister Rendall who died at home in East Voe on 27th December 2021. Allister was a dear friend of the Trust and long standing Trustee. While he will be greatly missed at the Trust, we will always be grateful for his support, enthusiasm and friendship.

Allister Rendall 1943-2021

Allister was born in Burra on 14th February 1943, the eldest child of Robert and Mary Rendall. When he was just two, the family moved to live in Lerwick and was completed by the arrival of younger siblings, Maurice and Caroline. Allister kept close links over the years with his birthplace and there’s little doubt that his close relationship with his grandfather laid the foundation of his future interest in all things maritime.

On leaving school at 15 Allister first worked at Charlie’s Bakery, but the sea was his vocation and he took the first opportunity available to become a fisherman. Over the years he gained his tickets and became a skilled fisherman, as well as a trusted and loyal crewmate. Among the vessels he worked on were the Brighter Dawn and the herring boats Venture and Replenish. He later became a partner in the Sunbeam and the Valonia.

Later in life Allister worked many years as Pier Master and Pilot at Scalloway Harbour where he was in charge of the day to day running of the port and was involved in its expansion over the years.

Allister married Isobel in 1965 and over the course of the next twelve years they were blessed with three daughters – Alison, Louise and Lynsey.

Throughout his life Allister was involved in many community groups and initiatives. His desire to bring opportunities to others was very much the driving force behind his involvement.

Allister became part of the Swan Trust from day one and has been central throughout its thirty-plus year history. He volunteered as one of the crew who sailed the Swan home to Shetland. Involved in all stages of fundraising, the rebuild and the formation of the Trust, he served as a Trustee throughout and was Chairman for a number of years. The main point of it all for Allister was to provide opportunity for school bairns and young folk to learn about sailing, experience it for themselves and enable them to consider a career at sea, as a gratifying number have done.

On the morning of his funeral the Swan was anchored in the harbour across from the Methodist Chapel in Scalloway as a mark of respect.

The Swan anchored for Allister's funeral

Likewise, Allister’s involvement as a Trustee with the North Atlantic Fisheries College over a number of years was based on his desire to see young folk being able to train in Shetland and have opportunity to achieve success.

His knowledge of the sea, of fishing history and indeed all things maritime was wide. He had a huge interest in old boats and any restoration projects. His particular interest in the history of small boats led to him being involved in a group that initiated, planned and took forward the first Shetland Boat Week held in Lerwick in 2016.

On a similar theme, his involvement with Scalloway Museum as a committee member saw him volunteering there and assisting in the creation of the outdoor area where boats which have a specific connection to the village are displayed.

Another big part of Allister’s life for many years was his involvement in Shetland Aid Trust. A trip to Albania left a lasting impression on him; the harshness of the conditions in which people were living made him realise how dependent they were on assistance. This led eventually to the Trust’s ongoing partnership with Blythswood Care.

With his fishing background Allister had a long and active involvement with the Fishermen’s Mission, serving on the local advisory committee for many years and assisting in many different ways.

As the current representative of the Mission in Shetland, Aubrey Jamieson paid tribute during the funeral service to Allister for his loyal friendship and service to the organisation.

After living much of his life in Lerwick where he had a long association with both Garthspool and Lerwick Baptist Churches, Allister and Isobel moved to East Voe, Scalloway in 1997 and became active members of the Scalloway Methodist Church.

Allister passed away in the late evening of 27th December at his own home. He will be sorely missed by his wife, daughters and grandchildren; and by so many who knew him through the many groups and organisations where he has played an integral part over the years. His legacy will live on in those many groups and good causes that he has helped, supported, and influenced.

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