TRIBUTES have been paid to “a real community champion” and “a pillar in the community” who sadly died on September 9.

Al Beck had been at the heart of many groups in Humbie for a number of years, taking on roles in the Humbie Hub, Humbie Box Office (HBO) and the village’s community council.

Tributes have poured in from not only residents but members of the various groups and councillors.

His wife Janet thanked people for their kind words and said: “We had all kinds of messages both shortly before and after he died, which say he was really at the heart of Humbie. That has been lovely to hear.

“The wording that we used for the announcement of his death was that he was a lover of music, windswept open spaces and the odd dram.

“His life revolved around family and friends in the community.”

A funeral service for the 67-year-old, who was treasurer with the community council, took place last Monday.

Mr Beck, who has a son John, 35, and daughter Rosie, 32, was buried at Binning Memorial Wood, near Tyninghame but, due to coronavirus restrictions, the attendance at the funeral was restricted.

The hearse passed slowly by the Humbie Hub at about 1.15pm. The cafe at the Hub was closed on the day of the funeral.

Janet said: “I think he really found his niche in being part of the community here.

“Apart from the Humbie Hub, he was instrumental in starting Humbie Box Office, the local film group, which has been running now for 20 years.

“He was one of the directors at the Humbie Hub but he also did everything – he worked in the shop, the Post Office, he washed up – he mucked in.”

The Humbie Hub – which includes a shop, cafe, Post Office and community space – posted a moving tribute on social media, describing Mr Beck as a “valuable member of the Hub team”.

The post noted: “Al, as well as being a pillar in the community, was a big part of the Hub, supporting it from day one with so much enthusiasm and energy – always thinking of others before himself and all through his short illness and months of shielding his drive and enthusiasm continued. He was an inspiration to us all and will be greatly missed.”

The four Haddington and Lammermuir ward councillors all paid tribute to Mr Beck, who previously worked for Mavis Hall Park, a venue to the south of the village which hosts corporate events and weddings.

Councillor Tom Trotter said Mr Beck “would be missed” and that he would “leave a big gap and take some following”.

He said: “Back when I was first elected as a councillor I had regular village surgeries and Al always turned up on a Saturday morning.

“We frequently spoke about village matters, but life in general as well, and I really enjoyed my Saturday morning chats with him. I’m very sad to hear of his passing.

“He was the one – and there are others in that community – that over a long, long period of time dedicated his time to the community.”

Ward colleague Shamin Akhtar described it as “sad news”. “He was such a kind and considerate man,” she said. “He will be very much missed.”

Fellow councillor Craig Hoy also paid tribute and said: “My thoughts are with Al Beck’s family and many friends at this sad time.

“Al was a stalwart of the Humbie community and was totally dedicated to the local area and to local issues.

“Whether he was behind the till at the Humbie Hub, organising election hustings or through his work on the community council, Al always showed commitment and good humour.

“He was a very committed local campaigner and a real community champion and his passing will be deeply felt in Humbie and beyond.”

Councillor John McMillan said he “totally admired” Mr Beck, who was involved with the community council for more than 20 years.

He said: “Al Beck gave me wise and useful advice for my role as a councillor from the first moment we met and did so on every other occasion when we met over the last eight years.

“Al loved and cared for Humbie village and its whole community.

“It was fitting that his email address was ‘Humbie Becks’, and the love, respect and many tributes his community pay to him now is a mark of all he did in and around the village.

“Al arranged electoral hustings and ensured they ran fairly and professionally.

“In my first, in April 2012, he took me aside and quietly welcomed me, and reminded me of the important role of councillors in communicating with communities.”

Mr McMillan highlighted the active role Mr Beck took in the community and said he “challenged and championed so many good ideas”.

He added: “All who knew Al know how proud he was of his family and all that they had achieved in their own particular and distinguished fields.

“During his life, Al gave so much to others, and we all appreciate that, but today in thanking and remembering him with love and respect, we think of his family who will miss him so much, and shared him with us.”

Joanne Allen, former chairwoman of Gifford Community Council, also paid tribute.

She said: “So really sorry to hear this. I dealt with Al through the community council and will remember his humour and kindness.

“Much love to his family.”

The family has asked for donations to be made to Marie Curie, instead of flowers. To support the cause, go to