Gordon and Don’s capital read set to be launched in St Boswells
Life-long friends Gordon Hunter and Don Ledingham have combined their photographic and poetic talents to produce ‘Edinburgh Revisited’ – a sumptuous book celebrating the capital’s enduring splendour in photos and poems.
The 168-page book will have its official Borders launch at the Mainstreet Trading Company’s bookstore in St Boswells on Thursday, December 5, during which Gordon will give an illustrated talk on the project’s aims and the work needed to bring it to fruition, while a selection of Don’s poems will be read by local actor and storyteller John Nichol.
Gordon and Don have been friends since childhood, growing up close to each other in Edinburgh’s Portobello district. Both attended the Royal High School in Edinburgh and both have strong connections with the Borders – Gordon having been born in Hawick, and Don in Galashiels.
A chartered surveyor, Gordon’s Ashkirk Properties company advises institutional investors, fund managers, property companies and banks. Gordon is well known in local rugby circles, having turned out for Selkirk and been a member of Scotland’s 1984 Grand Slam-winning squad.
His love of photography has grown over the past 20 years, and he now possesses an extensive portfolio of images. Gordon and his wife Nancy live near Ashkirk.
Don’s career in education and leadership has seen him serve as deputy head of Selkirk High School and headteacher of Dunbar Grammar School.
He was also director of education with two local authorities, and now heads up Ceannas, an international leadership consultancy.
His passion for poetry stems from early school days when his Primary 6 teacher, Miss Simpson, introduced him to the work of Norman MacCaig. He and his wife Gill live in Langshaw.
‘Edinburgh Revisited’ picks out many of Edinburgh’s iconic views of the city, putting a twist on them, both in terms of the accompanying photographs and themed poems.
Over a three-year period Gordon and Don made frequent visits to the capital. Sometimes the poem has come first, while on other occasions Gordon has captured an image without ever quite knowing what it will stimulate in terms of a poem from Don.
‘Edinburgh Revisited’ also features a range of contributions from well-known Scots with strong connections to the city – Ian Rankin, Lady Anne Smith, Lord David Steel, Jason Connery, Sir Angus Deaton, Jack Lowden, Gavin Hastings, Alistair Moffat, Olivia Giles and Glynn Satterley.
The book contains a section entitled ‘Borders Inheritance’ – an earlier project undertaken by Gordon and Don which attempted to capture rural life in the Scottish Borders at the turn of the millennium.
An introduction by HRH the Princess Royal appears at the start of the book, while well-known author Alexander McCall Smith has penned the book’s foreword.
He says of ‘Edinburgh Revisited’: “This is a collection where two visions have come together and sparked off against each other.
“The result is a journey informed by two entirely complementary and harmonious guides … it is abundantly clear from every image and every line in this book that these two [Gordon and Don] love this city.
“What they have done is to set out a tribute that captures the character of one of the world’s great cities – a city that has inspired generations of artists, writers, and musicians.
“This book is a love letter to Edinburgh – but not a private one: it is a love letter in which we all might share.”
All monies raised through sales of prints and books are being shared between Leuchie House, the national respite centre for MS, MND and Stroke; and ‘500 miles’, a charity which supports the development and delivery of prosthetic and orthotic services in Malawi and Zambia.
Such has been the incredible success of the book since its Edinburgh launch at the Stills Gallery last month, that to date over £20,000 has been raised for the two nominated charities.