Staff and young people at the Bridges Project in Musselburgh are mourning the loss of a “fantastic leader and mentor”.

The charity’s former long-serving chief executive Jim Boyle died earlier this month following a three-month battle with cancer. He was 59.

He passed away at St Columba’s Hospice, Edinburgh, on November 7.

For more than 30 years, Mr Boyle led the project as it inspired thousands of young people in East Lothian and beyond to build a confident future.

Last year, more than 500 teenagers and young adults completed one or more of the Bridges Project’s support programmes, successfully helping them into work or further education while gaining important life skills.

Without this intervention, many might have ended up unemployed and facing a range of challenges such as poor mental health and social isolation.

Since its establishment in 1985, Mr Boyle helped build the charity, based on Bog Park Road, to its current operation, employing a staff team of 16 committed professionals.

As a keen advocate of good governance and transparency in the voluntary sector, his skills and personality were instrumental in winning the support of the Bridges Project’s financial backers.

Emma Scarcliffe, acting chief executive, paid tribute to Mr Boyle, saying: “He truly was an incredible man who was dedicated to ensuring young people were given the right support to overcome challenges and go on to live fulfilling and successful lives.

“He was passionate, committed and inspiring, leading Bridges Project to become the highly successful charity it is today.

“I speak on behalf of the whole staff team when I say not only was he a fantastic leader and mentor, he was a true friend who will be dearly missed.”

Karen Aitchison, chairperson of the board of trustees, added: “Jim was a man of strong principles.

“His depth of compassion was matched by forward-thinking practicality – always with the good of the young people he served at the front and centre of his practice.

“His views were often thought-provoking and challenging, and delivered with a bone-dry sense of humour; he will be greatly missed.”

Although based in Musselburgh, case workers at the Bridges Project have touched the lives of young people right across East Lothian and Midlothian.

Mr Boyle, who lived in Edinburgh, is survived by his wife Viv and daughter Mhairi.