A HERO young boxer has been hailed as an inspiration by one of Inverclyde's greatest charity champions.

Rhys McCole was recently presented with his Young Citizen of the Year 2023 award by retired Inverclyde Royal eye surgeon Dr Sadhu Gupta.

The Telegraph previously told how the 22-year-old battled life threatening ill health and disabilities to become a sports star and has now set up his own training programme, which he delivers in schools to pupils, as well as working one-to-one as a mentor.

He is the second winner of the prestigious Gourock Rotary Club's Dr Sadhu Gupta Young Citizen of the Year award, named after the local medic.

Dr Gupta helped thousands of people in the poorest parts of the world by restoring their sight.

Receiving the award from Dr Gupta, Rhys said: "I want to say a massive thank you to the Rotary Club of Gourock and the PG Paper Company Ltd for presenting me with my engraved Citizen of the Year Award.

"It is an amazing honour to see my boxing programme being recognised for the positive impact it has on our young people.

"This programme is designed to inspire, teach and help guide young people by giving them a fun and inclusive environment."

The Dr Sadhu Gupta Young Citizen of the Year award is sponsored by his family including son, entrepreneur Puneet Gupta, and his wife Poonam.

Now living in Kilmacolm, Dr Gupta has a long standing association with the Gourock Rotary Club, which has supported his many mercy missions abroad.

Dr Gupta, on his return from a visit to India, said: "It was a privilege to meet Rhys and to present him with the award.

"He is a deserving winner and he has done such tremendous work."

The Young Citizen of the Year is one of a number of awards run by Gourock Rotary Club to celebrate young people in Inverclyde.

Greenock Telegraph:

Every year they work tirelessly to run Young Artist of the Year, Young Musician and Young Photographer competitions.

This year the prizes were presented by Provost Drew McKenzie following the event at the Beacon.

This year the Young Artist of the Year (senior) award went to Emma Carroll from St Stephen's High in Port Glasgow, with Freya McHaffie, also of St. Stephen’s High, in second place and in third place Alexandra Cushnaghan of St. Columba’s High School.

Winner of the intermediate section was Aria Phillips from Inverclyde Academy with Sophia Ross, of St Stephen's High in second and Grace O'Brien, of Craigmarloch School, in third place.

In the Gourock Rotary Club Young Musician competition, flautist Cody MacDonald from St Stephen's High came first in the instrumental section, Inverclyde Academy pupil Emma Sherry, also playing the flute, came second with Arran Peden of Clydeview Academy, playing the guitar, taking third place.

In the vocal competition Lucy McLean from Notre Dame High was in first place with joint second going to Mia Williamson from Inverclyde Academy and Caden Arthur from Port Glasgow High.

In the young photography awards, first place in the senior section went to Chelsy Learie, Port Glasgow High; second place to Lauryn Milloy, Clydeview Academy and third place to Katie Glancy.

The winner of the intermediate category was Kaitlin Marner, St Columba's High, and second place went to Charlie Pierce, St Columba's High.

Presenting the award,s Provost McKenzie praised the hard work of the pupils and the dedication of the teachers.

He also had warm words for the Gourock Rotary Club for giving young people such a wonderful opportunity.