A SCHOOLBOY piper has been recognised for spreading cheer to care home residents throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fifteen-year-old Mark Morrison visited five care homes on Mothers’ Day last year to play his bagpipes and sing for residents.

Now the youngster has been commended by West Dunbartonshire Youth Council for his efforts.

Mark received the Lockdown Hero Award in recognition of outstanding contributions and achievements throughout lockdown.

He told the Advertiser: “I never usually get things through the post so I was quite surprised to receive the award.

“I was shocked and taken aback because I didn’t expect it.

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"It’s nice to be rewarded for something you’ve done.

“It must mean I’m doing a good job. You go there to entertain and try and cheer people up, so when you’re invited back it means you must be achieving that.”

Last summer the Advertiser reported how Mark, from Alexandria, was approached by police in Colquhoun Square who said they’d received a complaint about his music while he was playing near the Market in the Square.

Mark voluntarily left the scene, but after the Advertiser’s story sparked a flood of supportive messages from members of the public, and from the market’s organisers, he was invited back to the next market two weeks later.

As well as performing outside care homes, Mark created his own DVD for residents to watch and listen to after restrictions and falling temperatures made it impossible for him to continue to perform live.

He also raised money to buy iPads for patients in the critical care unit at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

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The Vale of Leven Academy pupil explained: “When the Clap for Carers first started, I went outside to play bagpipes and sing every Thursday and I would live stream it on Facebook.

“I raised money from that to buy iPads for hospitals so people could FaceTime relatives.

“After that, care homes started asking whether I could go and entertain the residents.

“I visited five different care homes on Mother’s Day and I played my bagpipes and played songs for them.

“Since then, a couple of them have asked me back for different things.

“A home in Dumbarton asked me to pipe for their Olympics, and another one in Clydebank asked me to pipe for someone’s 90th birthday.

“I’m planning to go back to one of the care homes in July to pipe at a memorial service for them.

“I’m also going to be playing and singing for two 100th birthdays.”