Caregiver and schoolgirl Invergordon (16) hits the right note with the judges to win the inaugural John Preston Young Songwriter Award

Rhoehaisse Clark.

A carer and pupil from Easter Ross has won a songwriting award created in memory of a music ‘legend’.

Rhoehaisse Clark (16) is the recipient of the 2021 John Preston Young Songwriter Award.

A student at the Invergordon Academy, she has been writing songs since the age of 11 and is a self-taught guitarist.

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Her performance on the Liam Colgan Haybarn Stage at the recent Woodzstock Music Festival on the Black Isle was just her second gig, during which she performed a selection of her own songs.

In addition to the prestigious title, Rhoehaisse receives a prize of £500.

“Congratulations to Rhoehaisse, she was amazing.” -Fiona Sellar

She said, “I use songwriting as a way to express myself, which makes me write more meaningful songs. My musical genre is folk-pop music. I’m a young carer and I find songwriting and music a way to clear my head of being a carer.

The judging panel was made up of Edwyn Collins, Scottish freelance singer, songwriter, producer and record label owner; Yvonne Lyon, the talented and emerging Scottish singer-songwriter; and Rory MacDonald, bassist and songwriter of the much-loved Scottish icons Runrig.

Fiona Sellar, Vice President of Organisers, the Liam Colgan Music Fund (LCMF) said: “Having such a talented trio of judges on the judging panel was incredible.

“They commended the talent nominated and we are grateful for their commitment of time and expertise. Their commitment, as well as the quality of entrants to these awards, was exceptional. The awards are a fitting tribute to John.”

John Preston was general manager of Polydor Records and president of the BPI. He has made an outstanding contribution to the UK music industry for over three decades and has worked with music industry icons such as Kate Bush, Take That and Simon Cowell.

The John Preston Memorial Fund and The Open Awards were established by the LCMF in 2021 in his memory.

The LCMF’s sponsorship of a stage at the Woodzstock Music Festival allowed young songwriters to present their original songs alongside guest artists like Amy Papiransky.

Fiona Sellar said: “Sponsorship of the Haybarn Stage at Woodzstock Music Festival has provided a fantastic opportunity for LCMF to promote our work by supporting up-and-coming young artists, and for our winner and runner-up to perform. Congratulations to Rhoehaisse, she was amazing.

Ross Smith, one of the festival organisers, said: “The partnership between Woodzstock and LCMF has really paid off. We were able to provide a platform for young musicians to get deserved stage time and recognition, which may even open up more opportunities for them in the future.

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