An Irvine man has been given a top honour at this weekend’s Proud Scotland Awards.

Alan Gemmell was given the special “Hall of Fame” award to honour his work as founder of fiveFilms4freedom.

Alan, 40, who grew up in Auchenharvie Place in Girdle Toll, set up the free online film festival, the first and biggest in the world, when he was working for the British Council.

Created in partnership with the UN and the British Film Institute, the festival promotes freedom, equality and LGBT rights. In its first year in 2015, it reached 135 countries while the second fiveFilms4freedom was seen in 179 countries and included Scottish film Take Your Partners. In 2018 six million people around the world watched the festival films.

Alan said he was “surprised and honoured” to win the Proud Scotland award, adding: “It’s wonderful to be included.”

The award is the latest accolade in a long line of successes for former the Annick Primary and Irvine Royal Academy pupil who has received an OBE and was included in the 2017 Financial Times Top 20 Public Sector LGBT Executives.

It is the first time the awards, which are sponsored by the Sunday National and are a partnership between the LGBT Co-operative and Beautiful Events and Productions, have been held in Scotland.

Euan McLeod of the LGBT Co-operative, said the winners had been chosen from an “outstanding” list of nominees from all parts of the country.

“We are heartened by the sheer dedication and talent of so many people and it is a credit to the LGBT community in Scotland that we have such strong winners,” he said.

The LGBT Co-operative is also to run a new Mardi-Gla festival this summer which will include a Pride march and will be “the largest ever”, according to the organisers.