Readers of the Edinburgh Evening News took to social media to express their joy that local artist Shona Hardie has created a beautiful artwork honouring legendary Leith homeless man Arthur Williams.
Arthur was often seen at the foot of Leith Walk, where he lived for almost 30 years, before being moved into a care home in 2013 at the age of 75.
Hardie's stunning mural – created to raise awareness of mental health issues and homelessness – has been painted on the side of Leith Walk cafe Casa Amiga.
Billy Hammett wrote: “I only ever saw him on very rare visits to Leith, but I remembered him the second I saw his picture, such was the size of his character. To me, he was as much part of Leith as the buildings themselves. Now he has become a part of them.”
Laurence Winram said: “Lovely man. He played peekaboo with my son when he was wee. My son thought he was great. He would pick the berries from the bushes by my studio. They were not ones I thought edible but maybe he could handle them.”
Steve Catterson commented: “This is beautiful! I love it! And I remember Arthur well from the years I lived in Leith. Lovely guy.”
Susan Fraser wrote: “I remember him so well from when I lived in Edinburgh. Always a gentle soul.”
Norma Clark wrote: “He chose to live on the streets and was very kind to my grandson – a lovely man.”
Tricia Sibbald recalled: “My family had a cafe in York Place and this lovely man would come in every Saturday and take away what we had left at the end of the night and share it out to the other homeless folk. Very much the gentle giant.”
Lesley Wilson opined: “Much respect for the artist – and what a lovely tribute to one of life’s gentlemen.”
Samuel Clarke said: “I lived in Edinburgh for eight years and would see him most days on Leith Walk. I would ask him if he needed anything, and most times he would say he was fine. The odd time he would need some food or a hot drink. I was happy to help.”
Jenny Martin wrote: “When I worked with homeless people in the 90s, Arthur used to occasionally come to the drop in centre for breakfast. He was a man of few words, but always very gentle. I think he was quite shy. He was a true gentleman of the road.”
Karen Mason commented: “I remember seeing him in Leith Walk. Great tribute. Must get down to see it.”
Maureen Mckail said: “Just saw mural on my way down Leith Walk. Truly great. An honour to a wonderful gent.”
Jason Dawson wrote: “He was such a character. Never accepted money, but he did love a cuppa.”
Virginie Renard recalled: “I knew this man when I used to live on Leith. He had such dignity, despite his plight. I wish him well.”