A LIFESAVING former Greenock Jericho House worker who uses the power of the arts to help addicts has been nominated for a prestigious national honour.

Mark Williamson is in line to win the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award (RBHA) as part of the Burns an' a' that! Festival.

After leaving the team at Jericho, Mark went on to set up a non-profit recovery-based theatre group, Sweet for Addicts.

Since 2006, he has worked with hundreds of people on their journey out of addiction and the company has put on more than 20 plays all over Scotland.

The RBHA scheme, supported by South Ayrshire Council, recognises 'courage, commitment, inspiration and hands-on humanitarian efforts' from people of any nationality, race, age or gender.

Modest Mark says he is surprised and delighted to be selected as one of three finalists.

He added: "I began working with addicts and alcoholics in Jericho House rehabilitation unit in Greenock, as a way of providing a creative outlet for people caught in addiction.

"This led to the formation of Sweet for Addicts.

"I'm sure Robert Burns would have appreciated the power of creative endeavour in contributing to the recovery of these often forgotten men and women."

Everyone who performs as part of Sweet for Addicts has a connection with addiction in some way.

Mark offers people the opportunity to get involved in the group by doing something positive - whether that's singing, acting, dancing or helping with lighting, sound and props.

Mark joins Dr Sandy Paterson and Dr Varatharajah Thurairajah in the final three.

Peter Henderson, chair of the RBHA judging panel, and leader of South Ayrshire Council, said the trio 'shone through'.

He added: "Between them, they have saved countless lives - either directly or indirectly - and they are an inspiration."

The winner will be announced on January 25 and will receive the equivalent of 1759 guineas (approximately £1,800) – a sum which signifies the year of Robert Burns' birth and the coinage in circulation at that time.