THE leader of an award-winning youth orchestra has spoken of his pride at becoming a Tele Community Champion - and encouraged others to follow suit.

As we build up to the 2018 awards, Riverside Youth Band members said that becoming a Greenock Telegraph Community Champion last year was a 'specialmoment',

The Port Glasgow organisation, which welcomes members from all over Inverclyde, performed at the gala awards dinner, raising the curtain on the 2017 event in Greenock Town Hall.

Mark, musical director, said he would encourage other groups and organisation to get involved by nominating their own local heroes.

He said: “To be nominated for a Greenock Telegraph Community Champion award was wonderful recognition, but to win the live music award was a very proud moment for everyone involved with Riverside Youth Band.

“Local newspapers like the Greenock Telegraph are pillars of the community, and as a busy youth arts organisation with lots of stories to tell, we are really grateful for the Tele’s continued support.

"I’d encourage people to nominate those who are working hard to make a difference in Inverclyde.”

Since winning the award last year, Scottish youth champion's Riverside have continued to enjoy a busy schedule - and Mark is inviting more young people to get involved.

He added: “Every week, the young players impress with their dedication and willingness to rise to any musical challenge.

"Learning to play a musical instrument is something all young people should have the chance to do and we want to work with the local authority to ensure they continue to receive these life-changing opportunities.”

Tele editor Brian Hossack said the title was proud to be able to honour the amazing people who make Inverclyde such a special and unique place.

He added: “The Telegraph has been serving Inverclyde since 1857 and it is a brand very much at the heart of the community.

“These awards allow us to celebrate and recognise some extraordinary people, and we look forward to doing it all again very soon."

To nominate, please visit