A FORMER Melksham schoolboy has received critical acclaim after a song he produced picked up a prestigious Ivor Novello award.

Dan Austin, 29, a former pupil at the George Ward School produced the single People Help The People for indie band Cherry Ghost, which won the Best Contemporary Song category at Thursday's prestigious ceremony, beating off competition from Kate Nash and The Klaxons.

Mr Austin, who lives in Bath with his partner Claire, also produced the band's debut album Thirst For Romance, which narrowly lost out to Radiohead for the Best Album accolade Mr Austin's father Mel, a former teacher at the Melksham school and organiser of its annual rock concert, said he was proud of his son for his achievements in an industry which he described as "cut-throat, disloyal and amoral".

Mr Austin said: "Dan always gives everything he does 100 per cent effort and works extremely hard.

"He has often worked silly hours for no reward and this has been recognised by all the artists he has supported.

"It's not just about technical expertise, it's about getting the best out of people, often in difficult circumstances, under pressure with tight deadlines.

"We are very proud of what he has achieved and how he has achieved it, in an industry that can be cut-throat, disloyal and amoral."

Dan, who is a former pupil of Lowbourne Juniors, was in a band called Four Parts Water at secondary school.

After A-levels he joined Moles Studio in Bath, where he had worked part-time during his studies.

At 21 years old he became house engineer, under the guidance of studio manager Jan Brown.

He worked on tracks and albums for the likes of Mansun, Placebo and The Cooper Temple Clause, for who he produced their second album Kick Up the Fire and Let the Flame Break Free, which charted at 17.

Following this break, he joined 140dB Management and toured the USA as part of The Cure tour, with The Cooper Temple Clause as a stand-in bass guitarist, replacing Didz Hammond, who is now with the band Dirty Pretty Things.

His production credits now include Fell City Girl, Oceansize and The Doves.

With fellow Bath producer Steve Osborne, he has engineered and mixed the B52s' latest album Funplex and Starsailor's new album, which is yet to be released.

He is about to start work with the producer and mixer Flood on The Hours' album.

The 53rd Ivor Novello awards for songwriting were held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London.