A TOWN has been rewarded for its efforts in trying to get rid of sectarianism.
Larkhall, Lanarkshire, is the first place in Scotland to win the Champion For Change charter mark, an award put up by Nil By Mouth, the anti-sectarianism charity.
It was presented at a ceremony attended by pupils from schools across the community.
It represents the culmination of several years of hard work by schools, community groups and church leaders.
A range of interfaith services, sporting competitions and creative projects between all the town's schools successfully brought together people from different religious and cultural backgrounds.
The award was clinched after a concert in St Machan's Church, where pupils showcasing songs from their CD Different Voices Best Of Friends, which they produced in conjunction with local musicians Billy Stewart and John Malcolm.
The CD, which was funded through the Sense Over Sectarianism partnership, conveys their views on bigotry and their hopes for the future.
The ceremony was a double celebration after it was announced the Champions For Change scheme is to be funded by the Scottish Gov- ernment.
Larkhall's efforts will be honoured with a motion in the Scottish Parliament.
Campaign director Dave Scott said: "Larkhall is more than deserving of this award.
"We have been hugely impressed by the energy, enthusiasm and commitment shown by this community in challenging sectarianism.
"For too long people have made assumptions about this area and these pupils, teachers and church leaders have stood up and been counted.
"The young people want a chance to define their own identity free from negativity or the baggage of the past.
"They represent the generation that will defeat sectarianism once and for all."