TWO girls who were split up when they moved to different schools because one has Down's syndrome refused to let the separation spoil their friendship.

Gemma MacDonald, 12, and Sara Bell, 13, have known each other since their days in St John's Primary but they parted company when Gemma went into St Stephen's High and Sara joined Craigmarloch.

Gemma was determined to continue their friendship, so she regularly visits Sara for lunch.

Their most recent get-together was extra-special as it was arranged especially for World Down's Syndrome Day.

St Stephen's pupils Ellie Paterson and Morgan Leslie also attended the lunch club gathering and all four girls wore brightly-coloured odd socks for the annual 'Lots of Socks' awareness campaign.

The girls meet in the classroom of Craigmarloch art teacher Collette Brown, who used to teach at St Stephen's.

She is keen to encourage such partnerships between the schools.

Mrs Brown said: "It was lovely to see the girls rocking their odd socks for Down's syndrome awareness day.

"As the St Stephen's girls are in the upcoming summer school show 'Grease', they were teaching Sara some of their dance moves.

"These are steps towards creating more cross-campus collaboration - we have eight Craigmarloch pupils going across to rehearsals for Grease in June and the kids are getting so much out of it."

Sara's mum, Angela, says the lunch dates are something her daughter really looks forward to.

She said: "She enjoys seeing Gemma and the other girls.

"It's her only contact with St John's, she misses everybody in the school.

"Sara's quite shy but they've been friends for so long since primary one, so she's comfortable with them and very happy when they come to see her.

"It's a boost for her."