A CARING teenager who refused to let a change of school stop her seeing her friend who has Down’s syndrome is in line to be crowned a community champion.

Port Glasgow girl Gemma MacDonald, 13 – who is in S2 at St Stephen’s High – met Sara Bell when they went to St John’s Primary together.

The girls parted company when Sara started at ASN school Craigmarloch.

But with help from art teacher Collette Brown, Gemma made sure they stayed in touch and kept their friendship going.

Gemma said: “We were friends all through through primary school and in primary six, I started helping Sara at breaks and at lunchtime in the canteen.

“She would struggle to get into class sometimes so I would help her with that and talk her through it.

“I’m really happy that I still get to see her.

“I’ve learned a lot from Sara.”

Gemma still manages to go and see Sara a couple of times a month at school for lunch as well as outside school too.

To support people living with Down’s, Gemma plans to fundraise for World Down’s Syndrome Day this year.

When she was at St John’s, Gemma took on a sports leadership role through Active Schools to help the primary achieve its gold award.

Last year, she was asked to go back to St John’s to pick up the award on behalf of the school.

Gemma also represents St Stephen’s at science, technology, engineering and mathematics events across Scotland.

The hard-working teenager has now been put forward for an award at the Tele’s Community Champion gala.

Gemma said: “I’m very happy but very surprised to be nominated.

“I enjoy helping Sara and we’re good friends.

“Sara will be so pleased to see my picture in the paper and to hear that I am up for an award.”

Gemma’s parents Mary and Ian are over the moon that their daughter is in the running for our Youth Community Champ title.

Dad Ian said: “She’s the best daughter a dad could ask for.

“She’s great fun, well-mannered, good-natured and has good morals.

“We’re very, very proud of her.”