1963 - Jarl Charles Spence

The 1963 Festival took place on 22nd February

This year's Guizer Jarl was Charles Spence from Hillend.

Galley Name:- VALI

Charles's Jarl Squad

  • James Bruce Spence (Kellister) [Former Jarl]
  • Bruce Spence (Easterhouse) [Future Jarl]
  • Gilbert Nicolson (Kellister)
  • Robert William Sinclair (Newhouse, Midbr



Squad List

1 - Guizer Jarl's Squad

Dressed up in Viking attire, black cloaks, white tunics, raven wings and axes.

2 - Turkish Delight

Dressed up in very beautiful long dresses and Turkish hats they entered the hall with a large box. Some of the squad passed around raffle tickets. When the winning ticket was shouted out the winner came to the box and when the box was opened out came a beautiful girl and presented the winner with a box of Turkish delights.

3 - Black and White

One of the best dressed squads in the hall. Dressed up as the Black and White Minstrels of T.V. fame, singing a variety of minstrel songs and playing mouth organs.

4 - The Fraudulent Photographers

A very good squad, some entered the hall carrying a camera, and photographers sign. Thereafter some very funny people dressed up came to be photographed. The photographer took the photo, also the money but sorry to say no one got any photos.

5 - Passing the Driving T.E.S.T.

Another very well thought out squad. a driving examiner entered the hall, then the people to be passed entered one at a time with some very queer looking vehicles, and after a few questions and runs, some passed and others failed.

6 - Rasmie's Ploughing Competition

The most humerous and best squad in the hall. A Crofters Commission official and Rasmie came in, the official got on to Rasmie for not having the ground ploughed, Rasmie went out and came back with two Shetland ponies and plough, after much trouble with the ponies got the ground ploughed up.



Shetland Times Articles:

Shetland Times Report:

"Up-Helly A' at Cullivoe proved to be one of the best since the first one five years ago, both as regards the spectators and the guizers taking part.

Everything went off without a hitch in perfect weather, dry and near calm. The guizer jarl passed up the ranks, the varey light signal for lighting up went, and Mr Charles Spence, this year's jarl, boarded his handsome galley, the Vali, and led the procession of 40 guizers from the mustering place at Burnside to the Public Hall, where the galley went to her Valhalla a short distance from the hall.

Thereafter the guizers and the many spectators adjourned to the hall where following the jarl's speech, and guizers acts, and the reading of telegrams, dancing went on with great abandon until 5am in the morning.

Mr Spence carried out his duties as chief guizers with great efficiency. He was ably supported by the jarl's squad, and marshalls who assisted in directing and controlling the procedings.

Praise must also be given the boys who made the galley. All said it was the finest one turned out so far; also the lads who made the torches, which could have burned much longer if required; also Mr Barnham and schoolchildren for the beautiful head and tail."

Telegrams / Messages:

  • 'Wishing you all a grand night' - Leebie, Susan and Richard, Lerwick

  • 'All the best for a good night' - Nan, Aberdeen

  • 'May your galley burn brighter than ever before. We will look for it in the sky' - May and Mac and bairns, Selkirk

  • 'Best wishes for a successful festival ' - Jarl and committee, Uyeasound

  • 'Wishing you all a happy night. May your torches burn bright' - Andrew, Gilbertha and Annette, Baltasound

  • 'All best wishes for a successful festival ' - Robbie, Jessamine and family, Lerwick