A LONGNIDDRY sign painter has been helping recreate a sign for a local shop dating back more than a century.

Thomas Payne, who owns Thomas Paints in Longniddry, works next to Longniddry Village Shop on Kitchener Cresent, and offered to paint a new sign for the shop free of charge.

Longniddry Village Shop has a history going back to the First World War and was recently taken over by new owner Navtaj ‘Nav’ Shetra, 31.

Nav, who also runs Indian restaurant The Tiffin Box in North Berwick, took over the business from its previous owner, Willie Holmes, who had run the store for about 14 years before retiring, at the end of last year and said he hoped to renovate the shop while paying respect to its history.

Nav said: “There is a lot of history with this shop dating back all the way to 1917 at the latest. It was first used by members of the military during and after the war.

“The Scottish Veterans Garden City Association was formed during the First World War to provide homes for heroes returning from the war.

“This included the shop and community hall so there is a lot of history there.

“We are planning on refurbishing the inside of the shop soon too and will have a planning application in for that shortly.

“It’s all about making the shop better but also being respectful to its amazing history.”

To try and capture that history, Nav joined forced with Thomas, 37.

Thomas offered to paint the sign free of charge and try to replicate the sign pictured in an image from 1917 to the best of his ability.

East Lothian Courier: Photos of the shop date back to 1920

Thomas told the Courier: “I was quite friendly with the previous owners before Nav took over. The old owners had never really wanted to change the sign, which was getting quite old.

“But when I spoke with Nav, he seemed keen and was more than happy to let me do it.

“It’s about giving something back to the community. I get plenty of business over in Edinburgh so when it is Longniddry I try and help out when I can.

“I did a free sign for Longniddry Primary School recently and also for the Scouts group here too. I like to give back when I can.”

Thomas, who has lived in Longniddry for six years, trained as a graphic designer before starting his own sign company seven years ago.

He said: “I love history so the challenge of recreating the old sign was great for me.

“It’s all done traditionally too. I use chalk to do the outlines and then hand paint it so it does take a while.”

He said he expected the final touches, including some gold-painted leaves, to be added to the outside soon.

He said: “It’s been going great so far. I tried to keep it as accurate to the old sign as possible.

“Because all the photos are black and white, we couldn’t get a colour match so we chose a nice red colour.

East Lothian Courier: The new sign has been painted a red colour

“A lot of people have been out and stopped to say it looked nice and to ask what I was up to.

“Hopefully when it is finished it will look even better.”

Helen York, chairperson of Longniddry Community Council, said: “We are delighted to see that the new owners are investing in the store, which is a great asset to our thriving and growing village.

“We are also pleased that the sign recognises the historical importance of the store as it adapts to serve a modern community.”