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Last Updated: Friday, 26 May 2006, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Shetland wins a fan after revenge
Shahid Naqvi on lifeboat (Pic: Birmingham Post)
Shahid Naqvi was thrown overboard from the lifeboat
An English newspaper journalist who branded Shetland the most depressing place to live in Britain without even visiting has written a glowing review.

Birmingham Post reporter Shahid Naqvi had added to initial outcry by saying islanders were in the Arctic Circle.

So he went to Shetland to write a more balanced piece - and was thrown into the sea from a lifeboat as revenge.

He wrote: "I had a fantastic time. I could even imagine living there - if they'd have me."

Mr Naqvi said: "The article started by saying if you think that Tipton, which is part of the West Midlands, on a wet windy day is depressing think again.

It was in a bar that I discovered how widespread my infamy was
Shahid Naqvi

"We then said that the most depressing place apparently in the British Isles is Shetland.

"We said that it was in the Arctic Circle, plainly it isn't, and we spelt the festival, Up Helly Aa, wrong which caused offence."

His lengthy new article after arriving in Lerwick states: "I've learned two things recently. One: Shetland is not the most depressing place in the British Isles. Two: fame is a powerful drug.

'Public lynching'

"On a bright sunny day, the harbour town is attractive enough.

"As a city dweller, the first thing you notice is the sound of birds instead of traffic. Practically everywhere you are, the town offers views out to sea and the ever-changing harbour.

"It was in a bar that I discovered how widespread my infamy was.

Shahid Naqvi on Shetland  (Pic: Birmingham Post)
The reporter was won over by Shetland's views and welcome

"As soon as we walked in I was recognised. For a minute I thought we were in for a public lynching. Instead, I was feted. Women flirted with me. Old men shook my hand and asked me what I thought about Shetland.

"At least one girl got her friend to take a picture of herself standing next to me. I was even invited to an island by one local to meet her 92-year-old granny for lunch. On Shetland, I'm bigger than Jade Goody!

"VisitShetland arranged for me to go out with the lifeguard on their regular training exercise.

"It was not until we were on the boat, that I learned they were going to stage a mock sea rescue - with me as the stranded victim.

"And so it was, with the cameras rolling, that Shetland got its revenge as I was pushed overboard.

"I was hauled back on board and proclaimed 'I'll never say a bad word about Shetland again'.

"I can genuinely say I had a fantastic time on Shetland and would recommend the island to anyone. I'd definitely go back. In fact, I could even imagine living there - if they'd have me..."

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