A YOUNG ex-gambling addict who dedicates up to 13 hours a day preventing others from going down the same path has signed up a Scotland star as an ambassador as he extends his service.

Paul Pettigrew, who lost £100,000 over four years of his life, last year launched 'Gamtalk' - a pioneering organisation which sees him speak to people of all ages about the dangers of gambling and how to seek help.

The 24-year-old has been honest with his own hardships - including how the addiction caused the breakdown of relationships and issues with his education - in a bid to deter others from seeing the same fate.

The Portonian says the demand for his help is 'both excellent and sad' and he is now launching a new subscription service which will allow him to reach out to more people in need of a listening ear.

He has been boosted by the support of Scotland player, Lawrence Shankland, who used to play for Morton, and has now taken up a role as an ambassador for Gamtalk too.

Paul told the Tele: "I've been completely overwhelmed with the response for the service.

"While I'm glad to be helping people, it's also really quite sad as shows how much a service like this is needed.

"I can spend up to 13 hours a day talking to people - mainly men aged between 18 and 30 - although I will say that people of all ages and genders are affected.

"The subscription service will allow me to help more people and to create more resources, especially to give to schools to tell young people about the dangers."

Paul started out helping people in Inverclyde but since sleeping rough on the streets back in October to raise funds for homelessness charities, he has had people contacting him from all over the country.

He said: "I've even had guys reach out from England as there aren't any services available to them there.

"I've also been setting an alarm at 3am every second night to get up and do a Zoom call with a man in Australia who is originally from Inverclyde.

"I talk things over with everyone and will never send any automated responses - it's someone's life at risk really."

Some of the highlights of Paul's service included receiving a £500 donation from Karen Spark at Donnachie's pub in Port Glasgow o get set up.

In the year ahead he hopes to form relationships with schools to do educational talks.

Paul added: "I would say I'm pleased with where I'm at just now, but I won't be really proud until I've been able to help thousands of people overcome their addictions."

For more information on Gamtalk visit facebook.com/gamtalk.paul