When she was recorded in Whalsay in 1980 Thelma had her first-born child Lisa with her and was married to George Jamieson. She was taking a break from her career as a trained nurse in Shetland’s health services. Her duties caused her to live and work in Mainland Shetland a number of times but in 2002 she returned to Whalsay and along with her second husband, Jim Stearn, they have since undertaken various environmental schemes such as the planting of native trees and improving the drainage of their croft. Until 2014 she was working for the Shetland Citizens’ Advice Bureau.
Thelma has always regarded herself as no singer, in fact describing herself as ‘timmer’, a Scots word with several meanings, one of which is ‘tuneless’ – without any ear for music. Be that as it may, as a young mother in 1980 and a grandmother today, she happily sings to a baby even if she would laugh at the notion of ever singing at concerts and gatherings. This photo of her with young Lisa was taken a year or two after she sang her lullaby Baaloo Baalilli and our thanks go to her second daughter Mrs Gina Sandison for the photo and for much of this information.