The legacy of an ‘outsider artist’ buried in Angus is to live on at the site of a £100 million residential redevelopment.
Adam Christie from Shetland spent most of his life in Sunnyside Royal Hospital and is buried at nearby Sleepyhillock Cemetery in Montrose.
During his time there he developed a talent for painting and sculpture, using the most basic tools.
He carved stone faces and figures with a six-inch nail and an old file, made fiddles from tea chests and wrote poetry.
He also painted using discarded tins of paint and old flour bags as canvases.
Sunnyside closed in 2011 after serving as a mental health unit in rural Angus for 153 years.
A 450-home development, which will take 10 years to build and is being led by Sunnyside Estates Ltd, will transform the grounds of the former asylum.
Director Jamie Pert said: “We are delighted to continue our support of the local community and to support the heritage work of Dave Ramsay, and Montrose Burns Club, as we are firm believers in preserving the rich tapestry of life as it has developed over the years within the Sunnyside Hospital complex and how it has integrated with the wider community of Hillside and Montrose.
“We hope that as our development progresses over the coming years we will be able to give some form of recognition to Adam Christie and what he achieved during his time at the hospital.”
Christie’s story will be remembered at an event on Sunday which will also celebrate the links between Angus and the Mearns in the life of Robert Burns.
The Bard stopped to water his horse on a 1787 tour which took him to the Mearns homeland of his own father and in 1930, a group including Christie, commemorated the moment with a simple plaque, unheralded and in secret, laid into the wall on the track off Rosemount Road.
Dave Ramsay, director of Mearns Heritage Services said: “Each year we have tried to bring new dimensions and people to the Hillside event, and this year is a real celebration of the key people who have played important roles in ensuring our rich heritage for future generations.
“In 2020 there will be a special event to mark the 70th anniversary of the death of Adam Christie at Sunnyside.”
On Sunday, the eleventh commemorative event to mark will take place at the Burns plaque at Rosemount Road at Hillside at 2pm.
Readings from the diary of Robert Burns on his journey through the Mearns, and Angus, will be given by Dave Ramsay.
Aberdeenshire depute provost, Ron McKail, and Provost of Angus, Ronnie Proctor, will pay a special tribute to Christie, in a tribute to his legacy, from the work of local author and poet Joan Christie.