Young Hamefarer wins competition to name the Hamefarin galley

10 June 2010

Tom Ward, 11, Tough, Aberdeenshire Tom Ward, 11, Tough, Aberdeenshire Magnifying Glass A young Hamefarer from Aberdeenshire has won the competition to name the special Hamefarin galley from nearly 130 entries.

Tom Ward, 11, from Tough, Aberdeenshire chose the name Siglaheim which comes from the old Norse, ‘Sigla’ meaning to sail and ‘Heim’ meaning home.  As winner of the competition Tom will receive the name plate from the galley, which is traditionally removed just before burning, and will also get the chance to throw the first burning torch into the galley.

Tom said: “It is brilliant to have won. It is a real honor to be a part of the Hamefarin. I am really excited and a little bit scared to be throwing in the first torch. It is something I will remember forever and I am looking forward to getting the galley nameplate. I will treasure it.”

Tom is very keen on his Shetland heritage and has been interested in Vikings since he was a “peerie boy”.  Coincidentally, his school are currently studying Vikings for their topic and are also building a small 5ft galley out of cardboard. 

His mother Valerie, who comes from Kantersted in Lerwick and was at the last Hamefarin in 1985, added: “We are all delighted.  Tom has lived most of his life abroad but we have always celebrated our own Up Helly Aa where we have been.

“Tom’s uncle, Mark Evans, is on the Up Helly Aa committee and so Tom will one day be in the Jarl’s Squad with his dad Mike and brother Rory.

Responsibility for choosing the winning entry fell to the Lerwick Up Helly Aa committee.  Ex-Jarl Stephen Mouat said: “The decision was fairly unanimous and there were a lot of duplicates among the entries. We basically chose Siglaheim because it depicts Hamefarin, it is also Norse, connected with the galley and easy to say and pronounce.

“We’re pleased it turns out to be a Hamefarer who’s won it, that’s fortunate.”

The galley itself is now nearly ready, with the shields fitted and just the head (made by ex-Jarl Roy Leask) and tail (made by this year’s Guizer Jarl Rae Simpson) to be fitted.  The galley will go on show on Saturday 19 June at the Flavour of Shetland event on Victoria Pier.

The galley will go out in a blaze of glory in a memorable end to the Hamefarin, on Saturday 26 June, in the Viking parade to be held immediately after the Final Fling concert. Four hundred guizers will parade in a torch-lit procession round Clickimin Loch before burning Siglaheim.

The naming competition was jointly organised by the Shetland Hamefarin 2010 organising committee and the Lerwick Up Helly Aa committee.

Click here to read about the building of the special Hamefarin galley.