Hundreds of families are enjoying living in comfortable housing in Shetland – much to the thanks of 85-year-old Willy Henderson.
The former deputy director of housing for Shetland Islands Council has in the New Year’s Honours received a BEM for his voluntary services to numerous charities.
Mr Henderson said: “I am very surprised and very honoured. I have been working with local charities for almost five decades.
“Charities play a vital role in everyday life, no more than in today’s climate.”
He added: “I have always played a role in housing, from the early days of being a surveyor to becoming depute director of housing and housing manager for Shetland Islands Council.”
Mr Henderson has been raising awareness, funding and help for activities for the people of Shetland for 50 years.
He has used this experience to help with the running of the very successful Hjaltland Housing Association, which he worked with for 19 years before retiring.
The association is thriving with more than 1,000 homes available for rent in the near future.
Mr Henderson has recently retired from his role in which he was a director of Hjaltland Trading Ltd, providing property management services.
This includes the purchase and sale of housing accommodation and the provision of a One Stop Shop providing advice, support and limited access to grant funding for property repairs, improvements and adaptations.
He has served as secretary, treasurer and chairman at many charities including Crossroads Shetland (Shetland care attendant scheme) which provides respite to carers in their own homes.
He played an integral part in the setting up of the charity nearly 20 years ago and has been on the board of directors since then, acting as chairman for the last 15 years.
The new honours recipient, from Lerwick, works unstintingly to promote the work of Crossroads, organising an annual public collection week.
He is a member of the Hospital League of Friends, helping people in hospital by visiting, shopping, caring and assisting them when they are discharged back into the community.
He was the Shetland Pensioners Association organiser for 27 years and has recently retired from this role, where he prepared days out, bingo, raffles, and in house entertainment.
This is important to many who struggle with ill health, disability, financial concerns and loneliness.
Through his long term commitment to Voluntary Action Shetland (VAS) he has made a huge impact on the community.
VAS runs the Saltire Awards for 12 to 25-year-olds, which adds value and experience to their CVs, the Shetland Youth Volunteering Awards again for under 25’s, matches organisations to willing volunteers.
He also leads the Shetland Befriending Scheme, Support for Carers and helps with passport applications and official forms.