A TALENTED group who have real star quality lined up to collect awards at St Mirren Park … and there wasn’t a footballer in sight.
The occasion was the inaugural Renfrewshire Youth Voice (RYV) Positive About You awards and the main function suite at the Paisley stadium was packed to the rafters.
One by one, young achievers made their way up to the stage to collect gongs which were well deserved.
This was an awards show that proved once and for all that Renfrewshire definitely does have talent.
Grant Costello, chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, revealed how the celebration of youth had taken three months to organise.
He added: “A project like this is long overdue. It’s about time we told the world that all young people aren’t bad.
“There are far too many negative stereotypes doing the rounds but, hopefully, this is one way we can tell everyone that there are a lot of good kids out there.
“Renfrewshire Youth Voice came up with the idea for the awards night and we carried it through to a successful conclusion.
“Now we will look at making it an annual event because we genuinely feel we have found something worth celebrating.”
Renfrewshire Council Leader Brian Lawson got the ball rolling by welcoming everyone to the event and he spoke of the positive effect that RYV has had on local communities.
And there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when 12-year-old Mark Devlin, from Johnstone, picked up the top award of the night for Young Achiever.
Brave Mark, who is a pupil at St Benedict’s High School in Linwood, has successfully come through a terrifying bone marrow transplant for the rare genetic disease chronic granulomatous and is now well on the road to recovery.
He collected a handsome trophy and a £50 cash prize from Councillor Eileen McCartin and revealed that he’ll buy the new FIFA 2012 computer game with his winnings.
Mark told the Paisley Daily Express: “I’m delighted to have won this trophy because there are so many other people who could have won it.
“It’s amazing and I’m now looking forward to getting the FIFA game.”
A succession of winners followed Mark up to the stage, with talented Rebekah Mitchell just edging out budding opera singer Calum Macdonald to claim the Young Musician award, which was presented by Lisa Aitken, of sponsors Choose Life.
SYP chair Grant then handed over the Young Carer award to Nicole Shirley Edwards, before Liam Kerr received the Young Entrepreneur prize from St Mirren’s commercial manager Campbell Kennedy.
Councillor Iain Nicolson then presented Cameron Shields with an award for Young Volunteer.
Scottish and World karate champion Jordan Szafranek walked off with the Young Sportsperson award, which was presented by Elizabeth Harkin, of sponsors Lloyds TSB.
The gong for Young Community Activist went to Aidan Bradley, from Renfrew, who was presented with his trophy by Councillor Nicolson.
And Paisley youngster Abbi Whittaker also had that winning feeling as she collected the Young Artist award.
The evening was hosted by talented teens Hannah Hislop and Kelly McAfee, while Renfrewshire Council Community Learning Officer Hua Cui was commended for the hours she put into helping with the organisation.
Entertainment was provided by McCallum School of Music pupils Gaby Humphries, of Gryffe High in Houston, and Cameron McWilliam, of Paisley Grammar.
RYV member Stephen Hedges, from Houston, said: “Naturally, we were hoping the event would be a success but even we can’t believe how well it has gone.”
CONTENT FROM Paisley Daily Express (6th October 2011)