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James Paton

A pre-oil Lerwegian with a fantastic childhood growing up in Shetland, regular visits to the museum stirred and unleashed the imagination and fascination with 'our story'. The Pictish, Viking and sea-faring traditions ( my Dad was a Sooth- ice whaler) especially so.

Extensive community volunteering during a short time  in the oil industry included surprise election to the SIC and through that, then membership of the Charitable and Islesburgh Trusts. This  provided the most significant learning experiences and insights, through public service, including a strong desire for open, accountable and good governance.

Re-trained following my passion for community work. No opportunities back home, a Shetlander convinced me to spend six wonderful years in France - with bi-annual pilgrimages to Unst.

Working for two European institutions in Strasbourg led to study European history, philosophy, politics, economics and International relations by distance with the Open University.  On graduation was back in Shetland working on European Affairs -  projects, funding  partnership building and lobbying.

Twenty one years ‘exile’ as a Yorkshire Viking followed. I worked in Leeds for Yorkshire’s  museums, archives & libraries survive as a Director of Policy, Strategy, IT & Funding and on secondment as the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport Yorkshire’s representative. A move in 2010 to Skipton North Yorkshire Saw work change, including in education, cultural development as well as running my own tourism& hospitality food retail business. I was elected Skipton Town Councils first Green Councillor in 2015. I instigated the first Skipton Up-Helly-Aa as Jarl Johan Alexson in 2015 and  promoted the new Lerwick Brewery ales. I was also contracted, as a result, to officiate as a celebrant at a Viking funeral on the Isle of Man. 

Quarantined whilst on a family visit, I decided to bring my plans to return home forward a year and provide care for my Mam with day care having closed. I have been extremely fortunate,  and am very grateful, to have been selected to serve the community in protecting, enhancing and engaging Shetland residents and visitors alike in its fascinating natural, built and lived heritage. Mair Poostir!