A LINWOOD schoolboy has won a national award after transforming an underused riverside path into a popular fairy trail.

Matthew McDonald, 11, received the Community Path Volunteer of the Year’s Special Mention Award for creating the Toddle Tots Fairy Trail on the path near the Black Cart Water.

The Linwood High pupil designed, painted and weatherproofed the trail himself, as well as designing an online trail that families can follow as they walk.

Celebrating his success in the 2020 Paths for All Volunteer Awards, Matthew told The Gazette: “My mum started the idea a few years ago but we properly implemented it during lockdown.

“We posted pictures on Facebook to tell people about it and had lots of support from the community.

“Unfortunately, the trail was vandalised but people quickly got in touch via Facebook to support us and help set it up again.

“When people message us to say they’ve done the trail, I deliver a note from the ‘fairies.’ I’ve now gone to around 50 houses.”

Matthew reckons the positive feedback he and his mum Marion receive from those who complete the trail makes all the effort worthwhile.

He said: “My mum got a message about a three-year-old boy who had learned to count for the first time from counting the fairy doors on the trail, which is amazing.

“It makes me feel that I’m doing something positive for the local community.

“I was delighted to hear I had won this special award and hope that many more people will be able to enjoy the trail.”

Matthew added: “Hopefully, they’ll get as much enjoyment out of it as I did creating it.”

Since then, the schoolboy has developed a 5km interactive spy trail for older children which runs alongside the fairy trail and has used his award money to buy prizes for those who completed it.

Meanwhile, the Paisley-based Darkwood Crew won the Community Path Group of the Year Award.

The group was formed to regenerate a local green space but has since become a vital support network for the community.

The Gazette: The Darkwood Crew provide a vital support networkThe Darkwood Crew provide a vital support network

Terry McTernan, secretary of Darkwood Crew, said: “This is an absolutely fantastic achievement and one that came as a tremendous surprise.”

Ian Findlay CBE, chief officer at the Paths for All charity, added: “Volunteers like Matthew, Terry and the Darkwood Crew have carried out tremendous work and adapted this during the Covid-19 pandemic to reflect the changing needs of the public and, for that, we have to say a massive thank-you.”