I was delighted to read that North Berwick has been chosen as best place to live in Scotland by the judges of The Sunday Times Best Place to Live 2021.

Their focus this year was on countryside, convenience and community and, in the light of the pandemic, these elements have really come to the fore.

Those of us fortunate enough to live here know that we are blessed to have been able to take our permitted daily exercise along glorious beaches and in the countryside on our doorstep.

Our fantastic high street shops have been there for us when we most needed them, flexing and adapting to offer deliveries for those unable to leave their homes.

I truly hope we will continue to shop local and repay them for their outstanding service when we are released from Covid regulations.

Which brings me to community.

If ever we doubted it, the past year has highlighted the importance of the community spirit which has been the driver for the various initiatives that have been a lifeline for many during these long months.

Our community is the bedrock of our wellbeing for we are not meant to live in isolation.

We are not meant to struggle alone.

As we gradually become less pandemic-focused, the coming months will see the emergence of several North Berwick Compassionate Communities initiatives (see Courier, March 25).

Already the monthly ‘Armchair Chats’ events have been launched, aiming to address the oftenchallenging topics surrounding dying, death, loss and grief so that we can become a community that is better informed, confident and comfortable both talking about our own wishes and supporting others in meaningful and practical ways.

Now the first community-based Compassionate Neighbour hub is being set up in North Berwick, with the initial cohort of six ‘compassionate neighbours’ trained in collaboration with St Columba’s Hospice to offer neighbourly support to those approaching the end of life in our community.

I am glad to be one of that cohort.

We hope more folk in our lovely town will want to join us.

May we grow in our capacity to be a community that is willing, courageous and vulnerable enough to face the difficult questions and hard times together, for that is what makes for real community and makes North Berwick a truly special place to live.

Felicity Collins

North Berwick