A WRITER wants to create a book about life in Peeblesshire under coronavirus lockdown.

Helen Holt, 53, hopes to hear from up to 100 people for the project, which seeks stories, photos, artwork and poems.

The freelance copywriter said: "I’m conscious that we are living in extraordinary times that will be the subject of historical analysis for decades to come.

"I felt it was important to have a record of how the pandemic affected our town.

"I know I have found that my spirits have been lifted by ways in which individuals and local businesses have come up with creative and generous ways to help others – whether by starting support groups, providing essential services or just giving people a treat to cheer them up.

"I think it has made it easier for everyone to know that people care and that they are not alone."

Mrs Holt hopes that her book will be able to capture the popular saying of the lockdown – "we are all in the same storm but in very different boats" – and will help share unique experiences of this historic time.

Although her focus is on Peebles, Mrs Holt is also welcoming submissions from outlying towns and villages, including Innerleithen and Walkerburn.

The book hopes to cover four themes: Working through a pandemic – challenges and opportunities; Lockdown diaries – Zoom, social distancing, and bad hair days; Reflections – hopes, fears and dreams of the future; Beyond words – photos and art.

Mrs Holt said: "I chose the four themes because I thought they would cover different aspects of the pandemic.

"I also wanted to give people the freedom to respond in a way that suited them.

"Some people like writing factual accounts, but others like poetry or art.

"They are really just suggestions, though – so if people want to do something else, they are welcome to."

Written submissions should be no longer than 700 words, according to Mrs Holt.

And stories of 'normal' days are sought just as keenly as those packed with activities.

"The wider the range of voices and contributors we have, the more interesting and representative the book will be," Mrs Holt said.

"Once the initial health crisis has eased, I think it will be important to reflect on the pandemic and the changes it has brought, and to see what we can learn from it – as individuals, as a small community and as a wider society."

To contribute to the Peebles in Unprecedented Times: Experiences of a Pandemic in Spring 2020 project, or for more information, you can email submissions to pandemicpeebles@gmail.com, or post to 38 Edderston Road, Peebles, EH45 9DT.