THE annual North Berwick festival Fringe by the Sea has appointed a new board of directors with plans to extend and develop the event.

The festival, which this year runs from August 3 to 12, sees Niall Middleton, who runs the town’s Ship Inn and has been involved in the festival for several years, and Rory Steel, a festival and event operator from the Borders, appointed as directors.

Original founders Eric Wales, John Shaw and Jane Thomson will continue to act as consultants to the festival for the rest of the year.

Niall said: “Fringe by the Sea has become a key event in the East Lothian calendar and the festival has a fantastic reputation with people in the county and beyond.

“The amazing response we have already had from artists, volunteers and locals is testament to the brilliant job Eric, Jane and John have done over the past decade and we look forward to building on their legacy.

“This year, Fringe by the Sea will become a 10-day event for the first time and we will be bringing some top names from music, literature, comedy and children’s entertainment to our beautiful corner of Scotland.

“To say we are excited about the future of the festival would be an understatement.

“We look forward to working with all those who have helped make Fringe by the Sea such a shining beacon in the festival calendar, particularly East Lothian Council.”

Founder John Shaw said: “Jane, Eric and I are immensely proud of the festival we have created and seen develop over the last 10 years, but the time has come for its next growth spurt and for a new management team to take it forward.

“We believe the fresh team will capitalise on the festival’s quality offering, enhancing the key elements that have worked so well, whilst moving it forward with new ideas, expanded events and top tier names.”

Last year, Fringe by the Sea attracted more than 12,000 visitors and brought £1.9m in economic benefit.

Previous performers have included musicians KT Tunstall, Steve Harley and Elkie Brooks, as well as comics such as Kevin Bridges, Alan Davies and Tim Vine.

The festival has also included lots of quirky events, with donkey rides on the beach, tai chi classes, beachcombing masterclasses and a hickory shaft long driving competition at the Glen Golf Club.

The full line-up will be announced at the end of May, when tickets will go on sale.