Picture book of Edinburgh in lockdown raises more than £20,000 for St Columba's Hospice

W​hen the first lock down left Edinburgh looking like a ghost town, Stuart Montgomery picked up his camera and set out to rediscover the city he has lived in all his life​, taking photos which he published in a book that has now raised more than £20,000 for ​St Columba's Hospice.

By Liam Rudden
Friday, 28th January 2022, 12:30 pm
Stuart Montgomery with the cheque for £20,000 he raised for St Columbas' Hospice
Stuart Montgomery with the cheque for £20,000 he raised for St Columbas' Hospice

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Edinburgh: The Silent City, ​brought together a collection of Montgomery's photographs of the deserted Capital with ​reflections on life in ​city he has lived his life in by the concert pianist who teaches at the City of Edinburgh Music School​.

At the time, Montgomery, sa​id,​ “Amidst the awful sadness and challenges for everyone during lockdown I felt I wanted to do something positive. Living in the centre of Edinburgh my 'essential exercise' walk once a day took me right into the main streets of the Capital with my camera. I could not believe the scenes I was witnessing; in the middle of the day, deserted streets devoid of people and traffic.”

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Edinburgh: The Silent City

He continue​d​, “For years I would dream about these scenes. Now I was able to fulfil my dream and make a record of scenes that had not been possible before. Every photograph has a story to tell. I take photographs and write about what I see, the central image, the colour of the sky, specific features and anything that might be of notable interest.”

​This week, some 14 months later, Montgomery learned he had not only reached, but exceeded his fund-raising target of £20,000 for the charity that provides hospice and end-of-life care for people with incurable illnesses and their families.

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The Silent City, new book captures an empty Edinburgh during lockdown

He confirmed, “I have been raising money for St Columba’s Hospice and I can confirm that​ ​I have been contacted by the Hospice saying that I have reached my target of £20,000 this week. This is wonderful news​.”

In a letter to Montgomery, ​Jon Heggie​, ​Director of Income Generation​ at St Columba’s Hospice, wrote: ‘​​We wanted to take a moment to both congratulate and thank you on surpassing your​ ​£20,000 fundraising goal through sales of your boo​k, ​Edinburgh: The Silent City.

‘It is thrilling to see how popular the book has become, with copies being sent all around the​ ​world​.​ Both the production and continued sales of the book are testament to your hard work​ ​and commitment to raising funds for St Columba's Hospice Care; we cannot thank you enough for choosing to take us on this journey with you.​’

A​t a ‘big cheque’ presentation​ at the Hospice's Iona Café​, ​on Boswall Road, ​on ​Thursday, ​January ​27, ​Montgomery handed over the funds.

W​hen the book was first published, ​Montgomery explain​ed​ his choice of charity: “They looked after my mum so wonderfully in her last weeks and I am dedicating my book to my father George who has always been my great guide and inspiration throughout my life.”

The photographer and writer was therefor pleased his father could be present at the presentation, he said, “He and I looked after my mum for the last few weeks of her life,” adding, “Sales have been fantastic and my book has travelled all over the world during 2021. I have secured a reprint with my publishers​, ​so more money will be raised during 2022.​”

The reprint will be available from next week.

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