Gary Lightbody receives special music award at Belfast event

media captionGary Lightbody receives music award

The lead singer of Snow Patrol, Gary Lightbody, has received an award for 'outstanding contribution to music' at the Northern Ireland Music Prize event in Belfast.

The singer and songwriter is the first recipient of the accolade.

Mr Lightbody was acknowledged for his work as an artist and for his role in "supporting grassroots acts and emerging acts from NI".

The awards ceremony took place in the Ulster Hall on Thursday evening.

Speaking to BBC News NI he said he felt he "shouldn't really be singled out", attributing his success to "a lot of people".

From Bangor in County Down, Mr Lightbody took his first major steps in music in 1994 with Shrug, which later became known as Snow Patrol.

In the intervening 24 years he has been at the forefront of the band's success.

'Giving back'

"To get an award like this... you can't do it on your own," he said.

"I thought it was a good opportunity to say thank you to a lot of those people, to stand up and represent my band of brothers Snow Patrol, to thank them on a personal level," he said.

He has also played a key role in supporting Northern Ireland's next generation of music stars, by helping to set up the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast, and Third Bar, an organisation in the city which helps to support budding artists.

Charlotte Dryden, of the Oh Yeah Music Centre, said: "Not only is he one of the most successful musicians to come out of Northern Ireland, but he has always been an incredibly supportive and committed champion of the local music community.

"He has invested emotionally, financially and artistically to support its growth, promotion and development."

Mr Lightbody said he was simply pleased to be able to "give back" to the Northern Ireland music scene.

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