A GREENOCK man who became one of the leading British tenors of his time has been honoured at this year’s Inverclyde Music Festival with a special trophy donated by his family.

Michelle Liddell, the daughter of late opera performer Michael Lynch, has spoken of her delight after a trophy bearing her father’s name was presented for this first time at this year’s competition.

The prize was awarded to Maureen Todd, who won the open vocal solo category for Gilbert and Sullivan.

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Michael, who went by the stage name Gordon MacKenzie, was regarded as one of the top performers of his day and made numerous television appearances with ‘The White Heather Club’ and on Larry Marshall's lunchtime programmes. Greenock Telegraph: A Scottish singer’s lasting legacy was honoured at this year’s music festival with a special

Throughout his career Michael was also part of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, which performed a range of famous operas, including Gilbert and Sullivan classics, across the world.

He also participated in the local Music Festival in his younger years, with Michelle saying it provided a springboard for him to pursue a career in singing.

Michelle describes her father as a ‘festival success story’ and said it felt right to commemorate him with a prize at this year’s renewal.

She said: “It was something the family had been thinking about for a few years. I had been helping with the festival and when I joined the committee that just brought it all together.

“I wanted to have something in memory of him because he was so well-known in the area, and had a great reputation as a Scottish singer and as an opera singer.

“We decided that because he was with the Royal Opera Company, and they mainly sang Gilbert and Sullivan, it would be nice to put the award up for that adult vocal class.

“It was special for myself and the rest of the family to have that trophy up for competition.

“My dad entered the festival numerous times, with one of the classes being operatic vocal solos and he won it. I remember 1951 as one of the particular times he won it as an adult.

“The festival was like a springboard for him if you like, he would have gone on to sing regardless I think but from the festival he went on to get voice coaching lessons and did very well in ‘The Great Caruso’ contest in London.

“He was a real festival success story.

“Our whole family are so proud of what he achieved and my mother for being in the background and supporting him throughout it all.”

Michelle told the Telegraph that her father, who passed away in Greenock aged 69 in 1995, would have been pleased to see the festival’s continued success.

Greenock Telegraph: A Scottish singer’s lasting legacy was honoured at this year’s music festival with a special

She added: “He kept his connection to the area and was always interested in the festival despite travelling all over the world.

“He was a very strong supporter of the festival and believed in what it did for the area, I know he would have wanted it to keep being such a success because it helped him in his early career.

“He would have been so pleased at how it has picked up again after lockdown.

“The festival gave him a really good grounding in the early days, and the recognition that he had a voice which could give him a career.

“Not everyone who takes part in the festival is going to go on and make a career out of it, but I think it’s so important for the area because it shows the talent we have in the area and it’s so good for developing that talent and building confidence.

“Regardless of whether they go on to bigger and better things or they just take part and perform, everyone who takes part gets so much out of it.”