ADULT-SIZED hares are set to emerge across North Berwick as Leuchie House celebrates 10 years of independent charity status.

Called The Big Hare Trail, it runs from July to September and features 10 six-foot-high statues of hares colourfully painted by local artists. Each statue will be decorated in a unique style.

The tourism trail will be delivered by Wild in Art, which has worked on similar projects across Scotland such as the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail.

Hares were chosen as one of the most popular and high-profile animals native to East Lothian.

Leuchie House, located just outside North Berwick, is a respite centre for those living with a range of life-limiting neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and motor neurone disease.

The Big Hare Trail is being created by Leuchie House as a thank you to the community after it became an independent charity 10 years ago.

In 2011, the respite centre was at the centre of a local ‘Save Leuchie’ campaign after it faced closure in 2010. The campaign allowed it to stay open and continue its work.

To kick off the celebrations, Leuchie House will launch an open invitation for artists to help bring the sculptures and the event ‘to life’.

It is also looking for more business sponsors to ‘adopt’ one of the hares.

Each of the sculptures will be auctioned in the autumn to raise funds for Leuchie.

Local artists who wish to design a hare are asked to submit their designs before April 5; they will win a £900 commission and work alongside a commercial sponsor if successful.

The completed statues will be placed in high-profile locations in and around the town, creating a trail people can follow for 10 weeks during the summer.

Although the trail itself will not visit Leuchie, pre and post trail events are planned to take place there.

It is hoped the colourful animals will bring families, visitors and day trippers into the county.

The trail designers will ensure the free, family-friendly trail of discovery can be completed and enjoyed in a day by families with children of any age.

Mark Bevan, CEO of Leuchie House, said: “During the Save Leuchie campaign, the local community came together to ensure Leuchie could continue to provide essential respite breaks for people from across Scotland and their families living with the long-term effects of a neurological condition.

“This fantastic public art event is our way of saying thank you, while involving local schools and increasing visitor footfall to local business, as well as shouting from the rooftops that at Leuchie we are ‘Hare to Stay’.

“We are grateful to our presenting partners Simpson & Marwick and initial Hare sponsors MNM Developments, McInroy & Wood and Charles River, all of whom have hopped on board to support us.”

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