A PEEBLESSHIRE Rector has launched a fundraising bid to record an album.

Rev Jim Benton-Evans, aged 47, moved from Cornwall to the area in 2012, and after four years serving at the churches in Peebles and Innerleithen, he took a three-month break.

Jim told the Peeblesshire News: "Having been a priest for 13 years, a sabbatical was granted to me by the Bishop and churches to rest and reflect a little bit on my ministry and that of the churches. I took the break between April and August this year and spent some time in the USA, on Iona and elsewhere in the UK.

"I travelled to some wonderful places and saw and learnt a great deal about the world and about myself. On my return, I sat down and wrote an album's worth of songs as a response to some of that, and as a reflection on how things have been for me and how I see things. People have been kind enough to suggest that the songs deserve a wider audience, so I am seeking to get them recorded and released."

"Since I came to the Borders, music has been a significant part of both my relaxation and my ministry. I’m a regular at the local sessions, particularly Thursday nights at the Traquair Arms, and play ukulele and sing with local band Dismal Jibe. I also run the ukulele club at Priorsford School and we are about to start an after-school ukulele club in St Andrew’s church in Innerleithen.

"Many clergy write books on sabbatical - I thought I would prefer to write an album! It’s very much a personal reflection and response to the experiences I had on sabbatical and my perceptions of how things are personally and socially - in terms of influences, the answer is hundreds but these especially perhaps owe something to the singers Billy Bragg, Bruce Springsteen and Nick Drake.”

The album is made up of ten songs: some up-tempo, others more reflective, with a mix of folk and country.

Jim added: "Some themes are the contrast between life in Peebles and my experiences in Richmond, Virginia and on Iona; reflections on my personality; a tribute song to someone I lost many years ago; a critique of how hard life is for younger people; a love song to my wife."

Reverend Jim will be holding a preview of the album at St Peter's Church on Saturday, October 1 at 7.00pm. Lasting an hour, the event will give residents to listen to all ten songs, give feedback, and chat over cheese and wine.

The fundraising target is £1,000 to get the album professionally recorded locally. So far the Reverend has raised £200 in donations.

To donate, visit: gofund.me/revjimsalbum and you can hear a preview track from the album.