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Women to be part of ‘jarl squad’ for first time at annual Shetland fire festival

An annual fire festival in Shetland is to have women involved in its “jarl squad” for the first time.

Lerwick Up Helly Aa is held on the last Tuesday of January, and this year’s event will see men and women leading the torchlight procession.

It was previously only men who were allowed to lead the procession, but Up Helly Aa officials changed the rule in 2022.

Jenna Moar will be one of the first female participants in this year’s jarl squad.

The 16-year-old is the daughter of Richard Moar, the chief jarl.

The organisation is run by a voluntary committee of 17 members, each selected by the guizers – or costumed participants – with one new member elected each year.

The members don Viking-style clothing as more than 1,000 torches are lit on the day.

The event begins at 8.20am with the morning parades.

There will then be an evening procession at 7pm.