A PUBLIC vote is being held to decide which living local hero is to feature of a flood defence artwork.

Edinburgh-based artist Svetlana Kondakova is finalising the designs for her instalment along the River Ettrick.

And she is asking for help to decide who will be immortalised in mosaic.

A shortlist of three local worthies has been published on Svetlana's website with a voting deadline looming on Sunday, March 4.

Svetlana told us: "Over the past several weeks, Souters have been nominating those who they feel deserve to be portrayed in the

public artwork as part of my Selkirk Flood Protection Scheme community art project.

"The shortlist is made up of three individuals who have invested huge amounts of time and effort in local community organisations and projects."

The three locals who have made the shortlist are Graham Coulson?, Jim Newlands and Steve Penny.

Graham was nominated for his life-long leadership of and dedication to the Selkirk Scout Group, for his contributions as a founding member of the Selkirk Opera and Selkirk Pantomime, and for his loyal support of the Selkirk Musical Society as past president, member and star.

Ex-Provost Jim is a previous deacon and Standard Bearer of the Incorporation of Hammermen, and he was also nominated for

his contributions to Selkirk and its people over the years as local teacher, historian, author, captain of Selkirk Rugby and honorary sheriff, as well as being instrumental in forming the Common Riding Trust and his involvement of the High School in the flag practices.

Steve was shortlisted for his outstanding contributions to the community as a member of the Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team for over 20 years in a variety of roles including team leader, secretary and incident manager; as well as for his work with many other local organisations, including the Tweed Valley Bike Patrol.

Svetlana added: "In the mosaic, the winner will take on the role of a kelpie tamer.

"This Scottish mythological water demon will represent the River Ettrick and the floods, and by taking control of it the tamer will be protecting the town from this destructive force of nature."

Votes can be cast at www.svetlanakondakova.com by midnight on March 4.