THE writing was on the wall for four North Berwick murals dedicated to author Robert Louis Stevenson, until residents stepped in.

The artworks at Cat’s Close, illustrating the connections between the Treasure Island writer and the town, have suffered through exposure to the elements and droppings from nesting swallows.

Community councillor Judy Lockhart put out a plea for volunteers to help the first stage of cleaning the murals and received a huge response.

“It’s great that we are getting these areas of the town improved and people are making suggestions that we can implement,” she said.

Designed in 2009 and created by members of the community in 2010, the murals quickly became a popular highlight on the short cut that links High Street and Forth Street.

The illustrations feature the Bass Rock, Berwick Law, Fidra and Treasure Island.

Fellow community councillor Geraldine Prince, an art historian who taught at Edinburgh College of Art, has been responsible for organising the mural restoration with North Berwick Community Council.

“We’re delighted people are so interested and that we have [North Berwick] Coastal Area Partnership funding to upgrade the vennel and restore the murals,” she said.

However, some areas of the pictures will need to be replaced.

Dr Prince said: “We’ve had advice from professional restorers and the consensus is that some parts of the murals are beyond repair.”

One image that would be too expensive to restore is that of Fidra.

Dr Prince said: “Fidra is claimed as the inspiration for Treasure Island. We owe it to Stevenson’s memory and to the town to do our best to get a new version to last for the next decade.”

The community council is now seeking an artist who could paint Fidra back into the mural. Anyone with suitable skills should get in touch.

North Berwick resident Rex Homer, a Stevenson enthusiast who has recently visited the author’s grave in Samoa, praised the effort.

“I was delighted to see these being restored,” he said.

“I remember the late June Douglas-Hamilton being one of the driving forces in getting the community involved in the murals a decade ago. Restoring them now is a very appropriate way of marking her contribution to the town.”

Ruth Hunter-Pepper, who runs Sustaining North Berwick and who helped with the cleaning of the murals, said they were an important part of the town’s heritage.

She added: “Protecting North Berwick’s natural environment and preserving its heritage are aspects of the same effort to make the town the best it can be.”