Twenty-one years ago this month, a campaign was mounted to breathe new life into Inverclyde’s economy and reverse population decline.

The three-year project was launched by Secretary of State for Scotland John Reid, who is pictured with Inverclyde Council leader Robert Jackson and the area‘s inaugural ambassador, Ardgowan Primary pupil Gillian Mitchell, 10. More about Gillian’s involvement later.

Addressing a gathering of local politicians, business leaders and invited members of the public at Port Glasgow’s Newark Castle, Mr Reid vowed that ‘Invest in Inverclyde’ would challenge out-dated perceptions of the area.

He said: “This campaign is forward-looking and positive and I believe it will deliver real benefits for Inverclyde.

“It will promote a more positive image of Inverclyde as an attractive area in which to live, work, invest and visit.

“Inverclyde is often perceived as an area suffering from industrial decline and unemployment and the area’s external image has suffered from adverse publicity surrounding local redundancies.”

Council leader Jackson said: “We have to attract and maintain residents to this area.

“We have much to be proud of in Inverclyde and we have to shout it from the roof-tops – that’s what Invest in Inverclyde is all about.”

The initiative was supported by the likes of Inverclyde Council, Renfrewshire Enterprise, Inverclyde Regeneration Partnership, James Watt College, the Greenock Telegraph, Greenock Chamber of Commerce, IBM, Scottish Homes, One2One and Clydeport.

Representatives from these organisations were joined at the launch by a group of local people, who were featured on a massive promotional banner on the then-derelict Gourock Ropeworks before the building was converted into apartments.

The banner was to hang from the building for the next 12 months. It highlighted the four keys words of the campaign – Informing, Innovating, Invigorating and Involving.

Returning to ambassador Gillian Mitchell, she was chosen from hundreds of local schoolchildren, who were asked to put in words what they liked best about Inverclyde.

Council leader Jackson said: “After a lot of soul-searching we opted for Gillian because her response was so enthusiastic.”

Gillian’s ambassadorial role was to sing the praises of Inverclyde to everyone she met.

My other picture today includes Provost David Roach and Inverclyde Council depute chief executive Gerry Malone.