Holy Whitewater - kayaking minister immortalised in art

A minister with a passion for kayaking has been immortalised in a "stunning" new painting.

Rev Scott Burton said he was "humbled and encouraged" to have been included in Rob Hain's colourful and quirky "birds eye view" of Perth.

The minister is depicted standing outside his iconic church on Tay Street, St Matthew's, which has recently undergone a £875,000 refurbishment.

Mr Burton, a former plasterer who helped with some of the renovation work to ensure the building is fit for 21st Century Christian mission work, is pictured with a kayak and paddle.

Scott Burton
Rev Scott Burton and his kayak outside St Matthew's Church in Perth. Rob Hain

He has written a book about the spiritual aspects of the sport, titled Holy Whitewater.

Holy Whitewater

Mr Burton said he would be buying a print of the painting, which will benefit the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS), and planned to hang it in the vestry of the church.

The colourful artwork, titled Fair City, was unveiled at the organisation's headquarters, Fair Maid’s House, last week.

Inclusive and caring

Mr Hain of Selkirk said: "The inclusion of Rev Scott Burton was all down to Mike Robinson, chief executive, of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

"I had painted all the buildings and was keen for some stories and significant people to include.

"Mike suggested Scott and I researched some images of him online.

"In the course of doing so, I came across an article written about his life journey and his inclusive and caring nature.

"The happy coincidence of the Tay Descent, which I had already painted in, and Scott with his kayak was too good an image to leave out.

"His outstanding work, both for the material fabric of the magnificent kirk and for his committed devotion to the spiritual health of the people of Perth, needed, I felt, to be marked in some way."

Mr Hain, who used photographs and notes to create the artwork, said he was "so pleased" that the minister liked it.

Fair City by Rob Hain

Mr Burton said: "Rob Hain's reasons for including me in this stunning portrayal of Perth are so humbling, encouraging and heart-warming.

"Over the years of struggling to gain the permissions and funding to refurbish our iconic building, I found it hard to hide my disappointment at the many times it felt like support just wasn't forthcoming.

"Yet, with a small team of wonderful, hardworking volunteers we got there.

"So Rob including my image in this way is, I hope, a tribute to all who gave so much to take things forward.

"Our church congregation is now determined that our church premises are utilised for all.

"With more determination and, I pray, extra support, we can open our beautiful space in a manageable and sustainable way as it seeks to serve all in Perth.

"People who could find the light and life, hope and healing that our inclusive Christian faith offers.

"I'm looking forward to taking delivery of a copy of Rob's work that with take pride of place in my vestry."

Rev Scott Burton
Rev Scott Burton