A KILMACOLM school pupil has made the grade to achieve a black belt in karate.

Matthew Downie has successfully passed the first dan black belt grading.

The 12-year-old, who attends St Columba’s School in Kilmacolm, started training with the Tei Karate Association just before his sixth birthday.

Six years on, he is now the youngest member of his club to achieve a black belt.

Peter Galbraith of the Tei Karate Association said: “Matthew has shown incredible commitment and dedication to achieve this award at such an early age. 

“It’s been fantastic to watch his development from white belt and how he has matured and acquired the discipline to focus on his karate, to a point where he now helps instruct at the club he started at.”

Andrea Angus, the rector of St Columba’s School, also congratulated Matthew.

She said: “What a wonderful accomplishment for Matthew.  

“As a school we put a very high value on involvement and commitment and Matthew has obviously worked exceptionally hard to achieve this level at such a young age. 

“We look forward to hearing of his continued karate success.”

Matthew has also received an award for ‘Most Improved Student’ for the association overall, in recognition of his commitment and achievements at his age.