A LEGENDARY Largs musician is set to receive an honorary doctorate recognising his contribution to the industry.

Benny Gallagher, who celebrated his 79th birthday last week, will receive the honour from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) at a ceremony at Paisley Abbey.

Best known for his long-lasting partnership with Graham Lyle, first through blues-rock band McGuinness Flint in the early 1970s and then as Gallgher and Lyle, Benny is no stranger to UWS, having taken part in masterclasses with students alongside course leader Allan Dumbreck (The Big Dish), Jim Prime (Deacon Blue) and Ayrshire's own Mick Lamont.

It also marks 60 years in the music industry for Benny, who now lives in Worcestershire and whose first published song, 'Mr Heartbreak's Here Instead', was recorded in 1964.

(Image: Gallagher and Lyle)

Benny told the News: "It is a great and lovely thing to receive this honour and I am thrilled.”

Benny worked in the world famous Apple Studios in the 1960s and 70s, and even got the chance to collaborate with Paul McCartney.

He told the News in an interview last year that he was, and remains, indebted to the Beatles singer for his musical career.

McCartney wrote to the pair to let them know that their song 'The Sparrow' had been chosen for a recording session with Mary Hopkin and inviting them in to a recording session of their own - and even sent them a chocolate cake as a thank you.

(Image: Newsquest)

The pair forged their song-writing partnership 58 years ago, moving to London in search of a publishing deal and still holding down day jobs - Benny as an electrician, Graham as a shipping clerk - while waiting for their big break before joining Apple Corps as song-writers.

It was actually 58 years ago that Gallagher and Lyle forged a songwriting partnership, and moved to London in search of a publishing deal.

Both continued to hold down day jobs. Gallagher as an electrician and Lyle as a shipping clerk, while waiting for their big break, and the pair joined Apple Corps as staff songwriters and wrote several songs for Mary Hopkin.

They split in 1980, but not before writing and recording an unreleased ninth album - including one song, 'A Heart In New York' which became a major hit for Art Garfunkel when he covered it and included it on his album 'Scissors Cut' the following year.

(Image: Newsquest)

The pair have always retained strong roots in Largs, and made a surprise appearance in the finale of the 2016 show 'Caledonia USA', which faithfully reproduced their music over five nights at Barrfields Theatre in town - while Benny has performed at a string of 'homecoming' gigs in the town over the years.

The honorary degree will be presented on Thursday, July 4, at the third of four UWS graduation ceremonies being held in the historic church building.