A TELE community champion who has inspired and mentored hundreds of young people is boxing clever today after receiving police backing for a pioneering summer camp.

Rhys McCole, 23, who runs ring sessions in Inverclyde schools including Notre Dame, St Columba's in Gourock, Lomond View and also Kibble in Renfrewshire, has told of his delight in extending his work.

Rhys uses sport as a tool to direct young people onto a more positive path and has impressed community police bosses so much that they have funded the new initiative.

He told the Tele: "I have been running an initiative working in local high schools which is usually for periods of 50 minutes at a time, but I know that at the previous camp at Easter people enjoyed the chance to have a longer training session.

"It's a chance for young people to try new experiences and other sports they may have not tried before, such as boxing or rugby and they may not have met police officers before.

"I hope this helps to break down barriers and helps to show young people that there are so many opportunities out there, so many things they can pursue."

Rhys, from the east end has always punched above his weight.

He was born fighting for his own life with a heart defect and has himself been diagnosed with complex health conditions and disabilities including dyslexia, autism and asthma

He said: "Growing up I had to overcome challenges, and boxing helped to develop me not only physically but also helped me to build my confidence to become the person I am today."

Rhys was joined by community constables Frazer MacDonald, George Ross and Sergeant Scott Clark.

Constable MacDonald said: "Rhys is a 'man of the people' - working within the community we see the impact of the work Rhys does and we know that there is a spike in anti-social behaviour in the summer, so we realise that these summer camps can has a massive positive impact.

"We often hear that there is not enough for young people to do in the area.

"Our inspector, deputy area commander Paul Thompson, wanted to bring Rhys on board. He is aware of the wonderful work he has been doing and how these camps can be used as diversions for some young people.

"Rhys is a success story and great advert and role model for young people and we are delighted to be working in partnership with him."

Rhys recently received GB & Ireland Rotary International's highest honour, having impressed by going into schools to work closely with young people in a bid to combat bullying, as well taking on the weapon culture and drug and substance misuse.

He was nominated for the National Rotary Young Citizen Peacemaker Award by the Gourock Rotary Club.

Rhys - who won the Sporting Champion of the Year accolade at the recent Tele Community Champions event - is also only para-disabled boxer fighting in the mainstream and has won national titles.

His free sessions include boxing, rugby and football and there will also be members of the local police and fire service at the camps.

Around 20 young people who have worked with Rhys will take part in the three-day camps at Lady Octavia Sports Centre next month, and it is hoped if this is a success it will lead to further camps.