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Youngsters get sneak preview of iconic Monarch of the Glen painting

YOUNGSTERS yesterday (Thursday) got a sneak preview of one of Scotland’s most famous paintings before it goes on public display at Paisley Museum.

Launch of Monarch of the Glen painting exhibition at paisley museum… local school kids from Arkleston Primary school, renfrew first to see the exhibition.

And their verdict was: “It’s stag-nificent!”
The pupils from Arkleston Primary, in Renfrew, were special guests at the launch of an exhibition of the painting The Monarch of the Glen (c.1851) by Sir Edwin Landseer.

The painting is an iconic image associated with Scotland and Paisley is only one of four venues in the country chosen by the National Galleries of Scotland for it to go on show.

People can view The Monarch of the Glen for free at Paisley Museum from tomorrow, Saturday, January 20 until March 11.

The painting was bought for the nation for £4 million from drinks giant Diageo last year, after a four-month fundraising campaign supported by the National Lottery, Art Fund, the Scottish Government, private trusts and public donations. Diageo had agreed to sell the famous painting for half the market value.

The image of a majestic red deer stag on a mist-covered Highland hilltop was painted in 1851 and has been used in modern times as an advertising tool on everything from beermats, biscuit tins to bottles of whisky.

Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes, chairperson of Renfrewshire Leisure, who operates Paisley Museum added: “Having this painting on view in Paisley is a huge coup for Renfrewshire and shows we are at the cultural centre of Scotland.

“Many people will have seen the image used in advertising, but may not have realised it is a painting by such a famous artist.

“I would encourage as many people as possible to come along to see the original version of The Monarch of the Glen and it certainly is, as the pupils have been telling me – stag-nificent!”

Christopher Baker, Director of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery said:
“We want this tour of The Monarch of the Glen to be seen as a huge thank you for the overwhelming support we received during the fundraising campaign and as a celebration that this amazing work of art now belongs to all the people of Scotland.

“We hope that many people will take the opportunity to come and admire this iconic and world-famous painting.”

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Paisley Pirates fans rose to the occasion over the festive period as they donated a number of bags of new woollen articles such as hats and scarves to help make Christmas a little bit easier for a number of folk, and bring a little bit of cheer to what might otherwise have been a fairly bleak few weeks for them.


Marie Cadenhead, chairwoman of the Supporters Club, explained, “We were in conversation with Susan Niven from the Paisley Citadel just before Christmas, and what we did was put out an appeal to supporters to donate new woollen items to our collection which would take place during our match against Dundee Comets, our last match before the big day, on 17 December.”


“As usual, Pirates fans responded in numbers, to the extent that we were able to fill a number of bags with various winter woollens, which Susan, with our assistance, collected on the night, and these, in turn were distributed by the Salvation Army’s Glasgow pastors for distribution to needy individuals and families in the area over the festive period. It says a lot for our supporters that they were able to respond so quickly, and in such numbers, to the most worthy of good causes, and I know the Salvation Army is very grateful for the generosity shown by the supporters. Considering we didn’t really give them an awful lot of time, the response was pretty amazing and it just goes to show how people will happily donate to worthwhile causes when they’re asked.”

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Paisley Pirates supporters are well used to seeing youngsters circle the ice before each home game, but prior to their match against Dundee Comets just before Christmas, one extraordinary skater brought special smiles to their faces, and set the tone for what turned out to be one of the best matches seen at Braehead Arena this season, as the Pirates and Comets fought out a thrilling 3-3 draw.

Honours even in a hard fought 3-3 draw between Paisley Pirates and dundee Comets, in what was indeed a Christmas SNL cracker
on ,17 December , Picture: Al Goold (www.algooldphoto.com)

Pirates secretary Jackie Turley explained, “We don’t have our own junior teams because of the unavailability of suitable ice time for the kids, but we have an arrangement with Lanarkshire Lightning, the nearest junior ice hockey club, whereby they send along two of their players from their various squads to act as mascots for us, and lead the Pirates onto the ice before doing a lap of the ice. The crowd loves to see the kids, it puts a smile on their faces, and it gives a big thrill to the kids who get the chance to skate in front of several hundred spectators, usually including very proud parents and other relatives. Our ace photographer Al Goold also captures them on camera so all in all it’s quite a memorable night for the kids, and the supporters love it.”


“In the halcyon days at the Lagoon, there were about 150 kids from a very young age, up to maybe 19, playing for the various under age teams in Paisley, and while that’s not possible at the present time, we want to be able to form partnerships with other clubs which help encourage youngsters to take up the sport, and we know from experience that there are a number of kindred spirits in this respect within Lanarkshire Lightning.”


She went on, “At the Dundee match, we had 4 year old Eilidh McGuire out with one of the Pirates’ flags and leading the team out and she really took a trick with the larger than usual crowd we had in. She was hardly the height of nonsense, and when she skated her wee legs were going like pistons as she went round the Arena, but boy, the crowd took to her big time and she got a huge cheer when she came off the ice with her team mate Rory Somerville.”


“Lanarkshire Lightning have amongst their coaching staff current and former Pirates in the persons of Warren Crawford, Colin McMillan and Robert Henderson, and we’re absolutely delighted to have an arrangement with the club that allows us to encourage supporters to take an interest in junior ice hockey, while giving youngsters the comparative thrill of skating in front of probably the biggest crowd they will get the chance of skating in front of at their tender age.. We might not get the same thrill out of it as the kids obviously do, but we’re certainly pleased to give the kids a thrill that they maybe won’t get for a few years to come.”


“Maybe someday a match between the Lightning and Paisley Pirates juniors will become a reality, but in the meantime we’ll be more than happy to keep working with the Lightning to give these young kids an experience they’ll remember for a long time.”

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paisley pirates

Pirates served up the proverbial Christmas cracker with a highly entertaining match against their Tayside rivals which saw the goals, and honours, shared after an encounter which could have gone either way right up until the final hooter.

paisley pirates

The home side got off to a wonderful start and were two goals up after only three minutes, as Walker fired past Michie to open the scoring, then only twenty seconds later set up team mate Dobson to double the advantage. The smooth skating visitors began to find their feet and got back into the game only three minutes later as arch nemesis John Dolan pulled his side to within a goal with a snap shot. In spite of the remainder of the period being goalless, both keepers were called into action on numerous occasions, Pirates coming closest to regaining their two goal lead near the end of the session when a Henderson shot rebounded off a post, but they nevertheless went into the first interval with a 2-1 advantage.


Both teams continued to go for the jugular in the second session and as the penalty count mounted either side had periods on the ascendancy when they were at a numerical advantage. Pirates thought they would enjoy five minutes of superior numbers when Comets’ Phillips was thrown out for spearing after 26 minutes, but they immediately incurred referee  Allsopp‘s wrath several times over and were actually shorthanded for almost the full five minutes. It was something of a surprise that there was only one goal scored in the period, when Dundee’s import Beca rounded off a smart move to tie the scores at 2-2, and while Pirates did strike a post for a second time, they were unable to find a way past Michie, thus setting the game up nicely for a nailbiting final 20 minutes.


The final session was similar to the preceding two sessions with both teams going for the go ahead goal, and it came after 45 minutes when player/coach Adam Walker scored his second goal of the night on the powerplay to put the home side ahead again. Their lead only lasted three minutes, however, as with Comets now having a numerical advantage McNicol smashed an unsaveable blue liner past Russell to tie the scores again. Pirates responded immediately and Walker was denied his hat trick by the width of the post within seconds, but with both netmnders pulling out all the stops in the last ten minutes the score remained at 3-3 until the end of play..


Pirates will be well pleased with the way their young side stood up to a vastly more experienced Comets team and showed they could compete with the best in the Scottish National League. They now travel to Kirkcaldy this coming Saturday for another difficult contest, before returning to Braehead on SATURDAY January 6 to cross swords with Aberdeen Lynx, face off being at the slightly earlier time of 5.00pm.

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Thousands raised for good causes in mall’s festive music extravaganza

THOUSANDS of pounds have been raised at intu Braehead for charities during the Festive season with Christmas shoppers being entertained at the same time.

Musicians, singers, choirs and bands have been performing in the malls to raise money for their favourite good causes and the total collected during the centre’s Festive Music Programme is estimated to be more than an amazing £15,000.

One of the groups performing recently has been the Erskine Salvation Army Brass Band and they received donations more than double what they usually get at Christmas when they played in Glasgow city centre.

The band collected £3,411 during two performances on separate days at the mall with shoppers donating generously after being entertained to a selection of Christmas carols and hymns.

Major David Wing, from the Erskine Salvation Army said: “We were absolutely thrilled to raise so much money at intu Braehead and we can’t thank the centre’s management and the shoppers enough for their generosity.

“We collected double what we would usually get when we played in Glasgow city centre in previous years.”

Other groups who were invited to perform in the centre and collect donations for good causes included the Beatson Cancer Charity, Renfrew Burgh Band, Quarriers, Breast Cancer Care, Johnstone High School, Scottish Police and Community Choir and the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

Community development manager for intu Braehead, Lydia Brown said: “Some of the musical performances we’ve had at intu Braehead have been fantastic and really helped everyone get into the Christmas spirit.

“And lots of money has been raised for a huge variety of charities and worthy causes.”

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Kids cop for a festive sweet treat at intu Braehead

Police and security staff at intu Braehead were sent on a special mission – to hand out as many chocolate Santas to kids as they could!

And youngsters like six-year-old Elisa Corkindale, from Millarston, in Paisley were delighted to be given a special Festive sweet treat as they made their way around the malls packed with people doing their Christmas shopping.

Bosses at the shopping centre decided that their security staff and police officers based in the shopping centre should become Santas for the day and hand out the chocs and sweets, as they patrolled the malls.

Marketing manager for intu Braehead, Christine Macdonald said: “This is the busiest time of year for us and we have plenty security staff and police officers out and about in intu Braehead.

“We thought it would be a nice gesture to have them hand out the chocolate Santas, as they patrol the malls helping shoppers and keeping everyone safe and sound.

“Christmas is our favourite time of the year and we’ve had lots of exciting experiences and activities to make our customers smile this festive season.”

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Renfrew High pupils book in for advent calendar with a difference

PUPILS at Renfrew High School have been opening an advent calendar with a difference in the run-up to Christmas.

Instead of a chocolate treat, youngsters from S1 to S3 are getting the chance to win a brand new book as a present every day of Advent, right up to Christmas Eve. The winners are chosen in a prize draw.

The unusual Festive initiative is part of a programme of events encouraging pupils to read more, after Renfrew High was one of only six schools, in Scotland chosen to take part in the First Minister’s Reading Challenge for secondary schools.

Funding for the Advent books has come from the Scottish Book Trust, together with a discounted price from Waterstones bookstore, at intu Braehead.

Already pupils have had visits by authors, two youngsters travelled to the Scottish Book Trust headquarters, in Edinburgh to discuss the initiative and other pupils were guests on BBC Radio Scotland talking about books and reading.

The First Minister’s Reading Challenge programme at Renfrew High is being led by Renfrewshire Leisure librarian, Robin Dunlop, in conjunction with staff at the school.

Other schools taking part in the secondary reading challenge are St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High, East Kilbride; Bannockburn High; Arbroath Academy; Clydebank High and Sgoil Lionacleit, on Benbecula.
Chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, Joyce McKellar said: “The concept of the First Minister’s Reading Challenge is to raise awareness and provide a reading for pleasure culture among teenagers.
“Along with staff at Renfrew High, Robin is doing a fantastic job in creating a new interest in reading among the pupils there.

“And giving out a book every day of Advent is certainly a gift of reading, which hopefully the pupils will continue to do as they make their way to adulthood.”

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Intu Braehead mall opens to midnight – just in time for Christmas

The clock’s ticking towards Christmas Day, but intu Braehead is making sure shoppers have plenty time to buy the presents they want to give family and friends.

The shopping mall is open until midnight every day from Monday, December 18 to Saturday, December 23.

Marketing manager for intu Braehead, Christine Macdonald said: “We want to take the pressure off shoppers and make Christmas shopping a bit more relaxed and enjoyable.

“Our longer opening hours are always popular with our shoppers, especially with people doing a day’s work and then having to make sure all the right Christmas gifts are bought and nobody misses out.

“Our midnight opening is ideal for people with busy lives and people can even keep up with their favourite soaps on TV in the early evening before nipping out to intu Braehead to do some Christmas shopping.

“And everybody loves being able to drive into one of our free car parks and get to the shops within minutes.”

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paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates may be in opposition to the Dundee Comets in a Scottish National League
match this Sunday at Braehead Arena (face off 6.00pm), but off the ice their Supporters Club
are teaming up with the Salvation Army to bring some festive cheer to members of the local
community over the holiday period.

paisley pirates
Club Chairwoman Marie Cadenhead explained, “Christmas is a very happy time for so many
people, but there are those who are less well off and for them the time of year is just another
challenge for them to overcome.

We’ve been in touch with the Salvation Army and we’re
asking supporters attending our game on Sunday night to bring with them new or unused
items of woollen clothing, like gloves, hats, scarves, etc which we can pass on to a
representative of the Salvation Army who will be there at the match.”

“As we’ve seen already this winter, it can be a very cold time of the year and we’re looking
for any unused items of woollen clothing which will be a boon for anyone unable to get these
for themselves. A new hat, scarf or pair of gloves might not seem a lot for a person if they
already have them, but if you don’t have them, and the cold weather is causing you
problems, it can make all the difference in the world. We’re happy to take items of any size,
we just ask that they’re not worn or second hand.”.

She went on, “Our fans have supported previous festive appeals in the past, so there’s no
reason to suggest they won’t give as generously as they have done before.

Our club, the Paisley Pirates, receives so much support from the local community every year, so we’re
delighted to be able to reciprocate in return, and we know our supporters will take this
opportunity to say a small “thank you” for that backing.”

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Special ice skating sessions for youngsters and adults with autism

ICE skating sessions exclusively for youngsters and adults with autism or additional needs have been launched in the Arena at intu Braehead.

The sessions, every Saturday between 10am and 11am don’t have loud music playing, nor are there bright lights in the rink.

Arena operations manager, Lauren Little said: “Everyone should be able to enjoy skating, as it a very social activity, as well as being good for your health, fitness and general well-being.

“We decided to introduce the special inclusive skating sessions to make sure even if they prefer quiet and calm, they still get the chance to enjoy going skating.

“Anyone who is autistic, or has additional needs has to be accompanied on the ice by a responsible adult, but this is an ideal for a whole family to spend time together on the ice.

“And during the sessions we will have experienced ice stewards on hand to help people get started if they have never skated before.”

The introduction of the special skating sessions has been welcomed by Inclusive Skating charity, which works to encourage everyone – even if they have an impairment – to enjoy skating and compete in the sports.

Margarita Sweeney-Baird is the founder and driving force behind Inclusive Skating and is a former Scottish ladies champion and qualified skating coach.

She said: We’re delighted to welcome this new quiet session for skaters with additional needs.
“Families and carers are included too so everyone can enjoy some precious time together and get active too. The Arena at intu Braehead is the home of the annual Inclusive Skating flagship event, so this new weekly session is extra special for us.”

Admission is £8.50, including skate hire for a skater and one supervising adult or £7.50 if booked online in advance.

Additional skaters cost £3.00, including skate hire, or £2.50 if booked online in advance.
Log on to www.braehead-arena.co.uk for more information and online booking.