REMEMBERING loved ones who have passed away is the theme of the latest art installation at the former telephone cabins in North Berwick, with East Lothian’s MSP making his own personal contribution.

Local art group pARTicipate worked with the town’s Compassionate Communities group to create the piece that helps visualise what a compassionate community looks like.

It was planned before the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to a delay in it being installed.

However, work was finally complete by August 12, for the event Compassionate Communities held during Fringe by the Sea festival.

Geraldine Prince, arts activities co-ordinator at pARTicipate, added that, due to the pandemic, the piece was “even more relevant now”.

The display consists of large-scale paintings of North Berwick’s townscape, completed by local artist Julia Zeller-Jacques, who also painted one of the hares on Leuchie House’s Big Hare Trail.

There are also multiple feathers on the cabin wall, inspired by a quote from writer Felicity Warner who said that death “was like a feather taking off in the wind”.

Alongside the artwork itself, members of the community are invited to add names of their loved ones who have died to the wall until mid-September. About 50-60 names have already been added, including by children.

East Lothian’s MSP Paul McLennan stopped by during a visit to celebrate the return of Fringe by the Sea to add a tribute to his late dad Jim, who died two years ago.

Mr McLennan said: “I’ve known about this community project for some time.

“North Berwick’s Compassionate Community group, part of the area partnership, did its first visual arts ‘Absent Friends’ workshop in 2019.

“This new art installation continues that work, enabling people to add to the display the name of someone who has died.

“This is particularly appropriate given the added losses suffered by the whole of Scotland during the pandemic.”

He also commented on the way a community activity, available to all, could relate to the values set out in East Lothian Council’s consultation paper on the next phase of its draft poverty plan for 2021-2023, which focuses on reducing inequalities.

Geraldine thanked pARTicipate volunteers and the Compassionate Community group led by Lorna Sinclair, Fiona Watt and Deborah Ritchie for the chance to be involved.

She said: “The Compassionate Community group’s work centres on end of life and palliative care, but we are also aware of the personal traumas of losing a loved one to sudden accidental death, or when a person takes his or her own life.

“These mental health issues are present in this installation, perhaps in a gentle way, as a reminder of the urgent need to improve mental health and wellbeing, especially in the young, and on the need to tackle social isolation.”

pARTicipate has worked on the former telephone cabins on Westgate for the past couple of years, with several installations taking up the three cabins and turning them into a micro art gallery.