Paisley and Renfrewshire Newsletter

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Spree festival hailed as a “tremendous success” for Paisley

RockUs Community Choir perform in Paisley Abbey as part of the Spree Sessions initiative

Renfrewshire Council bosses have hailed this year’s Spree festival in Paisley as a “tremendous boost for the town”.

RockUs Community Choir perform in Paisley Abbey as part of the Spree Sessions initiative

RockUs Community Choir perform in Paisley Abbey as part of the Spree Sessions initiative

The nine-day festival saw over 4,000 tickets sold and more than 1,000 children attend free day-time workshops during the October school holiday. Gig-goers came from as far afield as Australia, Croatia, Germany and Denmark to attend this year’s festival.


Kids enjoy a dinosaur workshop in the Spiegeltent as part of the festival

Highlights included the festival’s signature Paisley Abbey concert and a unique collaboration between former Del Amitri frontman Justin Currie and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, with Currie backing Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 from the stage.

 Justin Currie and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra performing in Paisley Abbey

Justin Currie and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra performing in Paisley Abbey

A specially-erected Spiegeltent in the town’s County Square hosted several sell-out shows and a live broadcast of BBC Radio Scotland’s Vic Galloway show to over 20,000 listeners.

The addition of ‘Spree Sessions’ this year showcased Paisley’s vibrant home-grown cultural scene with shows featuring local cultural groups RockUs Choir, Create Paisley and Feis Phiaslig. And the festival’s first ‘fringe’ event, the Spree for All, saw local music promoters LNP Promotions organise a series of gigs in venues across town as well as a ‘magic trail’ in cafes.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “This was the fifth year we have held The Spree festival in Paisley and, once again, it has been a tremendous boost to the town. We had a fantastic mix this year, from the big-name acts to concerts featuring local school children, which showcased the diversity of cultural activity we have.

“We purposely time the festival to coincide with the October school holiday each year and programme a host of free activities for families to enjoy. Like much of our events programme, we want it to be accessible and for all our communities to have the opportunity to enjoy cultural activity on their doorstep.”

“Events like The Spree are crucial in generating footfall and encouraging spend in the local economy, while also enhancing the image and reputation of Paisley as a place to enjoy spending leisure time, whether you are local or not.

“I think Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 gave this year’s festival an added buzz. The success of this year’s festival and our ability to attract a national and international audience adds to the growing evidence that Paisley is ready and able to take on the culture title.”

Next on the events programme for Paisley are a Halloween Festival (28-29 October), a Fireworks Spectacular (5 November) and the town’s Christmas Lights Switch-On (12 November). It was also announced this week that Paisley will host the start leg of the Monte Carlo Rally on 25 January 2017.

Details of all the events listed are available online at

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Paisley Pirates preview

paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates hit the road again, after another blank weekend, to make the short trip to Saltcoats to line up once more against the local North Ayrshire Wild, Pirates having won the corresponding match at Braehead Arena 8-1 a few weeks ago.

paisley pirates

“I’m expecting a difficult match on the Wild’s home ice,” commented coach Ian Turley. “We played well against them at the beginning of the month, I thought they didn’t play so well, and we were able to take advantage to pick up another good win.”

“I think it will be a different story this weekend however, as they’ll be out to show that they’re a decent side, and with it being a local derby there’s always bragging rights to be played for. We’ve also got a number of ex Wild members in our ranks and I’m sure the home players will be wanting to show them they made a mistake in going up the road to Braehead.”

Turley went on, “I believe there might be a few personnel changes in the home side for the match and that will just make it more interesting, as I’m sure the players brought in will be keen to show their coach that they’re worth their starting slot. They’ve got a few guys in their squad who can hurt us, but equally, we’ve got players all over the lines who have done a turn for us recently, so all in all, it looks like being quite a game, as usual!”

The match faces off at Auchenharvie Leisure Centre at 6.00pm.

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Please support Paisley on the web by voting for us

paisley logo web

Paisley on the web is looking for your support to win the best community group category in Renfrewshire Council’s Provost’s Community Awards.

paisley logo web

Paisley on the web was started almost 20 years ago by Brian McGuire and continues to this day with many volunteers working behind the scenes to ensure that the community is kept up to date with information and events happening in Renfrewshire.

If you like what we do, please follow the attached link and complete the interactive nomination form.



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Take a selfie in Dracula’s coffin!

Graveyard tour guide Emma Armstrong gets a fright as she stumbles on Dracula and his coffin in the ground of Paisley Arts Centre

HALLOWEEN horror fans are being given the chance to take a selfie as they lie in a coffin at an ancient graveyard.

That’s the spooky experience on offer at Paisley Arts Centre as part of a Halloween Graveyard Tour, on Friday, October 28, as dusk falls at 5.30pm.

Graveyard tour guide Emma Armstrong gets a fright as she stumbles on Dracula and his coffin in the ground of Paisley Arts Centre

Graveyard tour guide Emma Armstrong gets a fright as she stumbles on Dracula and his coffin in the ground of Paisley Arts Centre

The arts centre is in the converted Laigh Kirk – which was the second oldest church in Paisley when it opened in 1738 and had almost 70 graves in the church grounds.

Dracula gets ready to welcome visitors to the Paisley Arts Centre Halloween Graveyard Tour

Dracula gets ready to welcome visitors to the Paisley Arts Centre Halloween Graveyard Tour

Paisley Arts Centre, in the town’s Witherspoon Street, opened in 1987 and visitors are intrigued by the unusual mort graves that look like table-tops they see close to the entrance.

The centre is now a popular venue with a diverse range of drama, dance, comedy, jazz, popular music and family events throughout the year.

In the run-up to Halloween, the grounds are being transformed into a pumpkin patch for the free graveside tour with pumpkin soup and Halloween cupcakes on sale in the arts centre café.

And of course, the fang-tastic opportunity to pretend you are Dracula and rise out of the coffin, which will be placed among the gravestones.

The arts centre is run by Renfrewshire Leisure and its chief executive, Joyce McKellar said:
“We’re having a really spook-tacular event at Paisley Arts Centre in the run-up to Halloween this year and the Graveyard Tour will not only be educational, but fun as well.
“The grounds of the former Laigh Kirk can feel eerie, especially as darkness begins to fall – and that’s when we’ll be having the graveyard tour.
“It might even get a wee bit scary if visitors stumble on people lying in a coffin taking selfies!”

Contact Paisley Arts Centre on 0300 300 1210 for more information about the Halloween Graveyard Tour.

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Paisley gets set for Halloween spooktacular


Paisley is gearing up for a spooky entertainment extravaganza at the weekend when the annual Halloween festival once again takes over the town centre.


The hugely popular annual event – run by Renfrewshire Council – is one of only a few of its kind in Scotland and will take place over Friday evening and all-day Saturday.

The first day of fun runs from 6 to 9pm on Friday, starting with a lantern-lit parade down the High Street from the UWS main entrance to Abbey Close, led by the stunning Spark! LED drummers.


Abbey Close itself will be home to a fire garden run by outdoor arts specialists Walk the Plank, featuring fire-breathing sculptures, illuminations and much more.

Paisley Town Hall will be Spook Central, with Halloween arts and crafts, family disco, storytelling, puppet shows and music sessions with Feis Phaislig.

Saturday will see more of the same from 12 until 9pm, but with the addition of a main stage featuring live music from local musicians and dance groups and entertainment from Pulse FM DJs.


Both days will also have a funfair, street entertainers and a great selection of outdoor food vendors.

This will be the third year of the Halloween Festival and kicks off Renfrewshire’s major winter events programme, with the Paisley Fireworks display (Sat 5 Nov) and Christmas Lights Switch-on (Sat 12 Nov) set to follow.

And this year will see a special treat with the world premiere of a new performance by award-winning visual theatre artist Al Seed taking place in Paisley Town Hall’s Loggia room.

Described as a dark gothic melodrama inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Raven, tickets for shows on Wednesday and Thursday are on sale now via

The show is one of the first to be funded by Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events fund, which aims to boost cultural capacity in the run-up to Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “We are delighted to be welcoming the Paisley Halloween Festival back for another year – it has been a hugely popular family day out with locals and visitors alike since it started in 2014.

“Again, we expect thousands of people to descend on Paisley town centre over the two days, providing an economic boost to the local area and local traders.

“This year’s winter events are extra special as the last ones to take place before the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 goes in next year.

“And with that in mind, we are delighted to welcome critically-acclaimed performer Al Seed to the town for a unique performance made possible by the Paisley 2021 bid.

“But the event is also a great showcase of the talents of the thriving grassroots creative scene we have here in the town.

“That goes from the young people making costumes and starring in the parade, to the many music and dance performers of various ages who will take to the main stage on the Saturday.”

The groups taking part in the weekend include Independent State of Happiness, Right To Dance, Street Stuff, Floor4orce, Solid Rock Cheerleaders and Rock Us Community Choir.

For more information, visit

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Pride of Paisley auction is a roaring success

Autumn lion
Photos courtesy of  Ian McDonald photgraphy for

Lions were on the loose all across Renfrewshire on Friday night as the ‘Pride of Paisley’ public art project came to a close.

Autumn lion Photos courtesy of Ian McDonald photgraphy for

Autumn lion
Photos courtesy of Ian McDonald photography on behalf of

The 25 colourful lions were auctioned off to the benefit of two local hospices- ACCORD and St Vincent’s- with the final amount raised a staggering £79,300.


Paisley Love Buddie was the most sought after lion fetching a magnificent £6500.

The extremely popular public art trail was brought to the town centre by business regeneration group Paisley First as part of the push towards Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Inspired by Paisley Museum’s famous ‘Buddy the Lion’, each lion featured a different aspect of Paisley’s unique culture and heritage.

The auction crowd prepare to make their bids

The auction crowd prepare to make their bids

They’ve been the ‘mane’ attraction in the town centre over the past ten weeks which has seen an estimated 20,000 visitors following the trail around the town.

Alongside the 25 full-size lions, 40 mini lions have been spread around the area with the aim of attracting visitors into shops, cafes and restaurants.

Andrew Mitchell, Paisley First Manager, said: ““The Pride of Paisley has been an enormous success for Paisley First and demonstrates what we can achieve through our business improvement district over the next four years.

“The project increased footfall and brought new visitors into the town who have went on to spend in local shops, restaurants and cafes.  We are currently working on next year’s summer projects which I am sure will be as good, if not better than this year.”

Chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, said: “The Pride of Paisley lions brought a real buzz around the town centre and the project has been an unquestionable success.

“We are working hard to regenerate Paisley as part of our bid for UK City of Culture 2021 and the project has highlighted the community spirit that Paisley possesses- which we need to harness if our bid is to be successful.”

Paisley First Business Improvement District is a business-led organisation which has been tasked with bringing forward events and activities to increase footfall and stimulate investment.

Paisley First are also a key partner in Paisley’s push towards the bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

The art trail’s headlining sponsors were: West College Scotland, University of the West of Scotland, Renfrewshire Leisure, The Piazza, Paisley First, Paisley 2021 and PACE Theatre Company.

For more information on the project visit:

For more information on how you can get involved in backing the bid for UK City of Culture visit

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Paisley Pirates-update

paisley pirates

Paisley Pirates continued their impressive start to the season after beating Moray Typhoons 10-0 at the Braehead Arena in their last match, but coach Ian Turley is warning against allowing any hint of over confidence to creep in.

paisley pirates

He commented, “It’s very important that we as a club keep doing what we always do, and that’s to look at the next game as the one which we focus on-that’s the return match against North Ayrshire Wild next Saturday, and the fixture will get our fullest attention and priority. Only when that game is finished, will we then turn our thoughts to the fixture after that and ensure we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves. It’s a well-used mantra, but it remains as true as ever, and that’s to take one game at a time.”

He went on, “Yes, it’s great to be winning and it breeds confidence in the camp, but by the same token, it means that every opponent wants to be the one who puts an end to your sequence, and that maybe makes them play just that little bit harder against you. Moray gave us a hard time of it for a while on Sunday and I felt we didn’t play as well as we’re capable of, particularly early on. We again came good and found some chemistry as the game progressed and I like to think that in turn puts our opponents under pressure, knowing that we’ll be going at them for the entire 60 minutes without beginning to tire toward the end. A goal scored in the final minutes of play is at least as important as one scored at the beginning, so we will continue to play until the final buzzer.”

“I changed a few things round on Sunday, switching the lines about a little and trying a few ideas out. I believe we have a number of players able to play various roles on any given night. Now that we have had a few games under our belt I can see the direction I want the team to go and it’s crucial that all players buy into that ethos. There are a couple of guys starting to find form and it’s important to exploit this and give players a chance to play. The honeymoon period is over and it’s key to ensure that complacency doesn’t creep in. We have a solid group of guys who want to play major minutes every game. This creates competition for places and no one is safe in that respect. I stand by the saying that you are only as good as your last game, competition is healthy, and with that in mind it will continue to push players to perform at the highest possible standards every game.”




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Rae nets win in Pro-Life charity match…but Neil’s Nutters made it tough


Former St Mirren boss Alex Rae was on top form when he brought his unbeaten legends to Paisley to play in a challenge five-a-side match to raise funds for charity.


Despite the atrocious weather on the night both teams were up for the contest at Pro 5s in the town’s New Sneddon Street.

Determined players, watched by a crowd of cheering family and friends, fought for every goal in a competitive game that saw the ball hit the net 29 times.

It was no walk over for Rae and his men with Neil’s Nutters holding their own in a competitive match with the result hanging in the balance right up to the last few minutes before the whistle blew.

In the end Rae’s legends took the spoils winning by just one goal – scored by the former Saints gaffer himself – with the final result 15-14.

Former Scotland and Celtic player Frank McAvennie, ex Aberdeen hero Joe Miller and ex Dundee United star Andy McLaren were joined by sports journalist and broadcaster Mark Guidi.

Rae, who was the fittest on the park by a long shot and scored the vital goal to net a win, said: “It was a great game and Neil’s Nutters showed plenty of skill and talent. They put up a great fight.

“We had to work hard for the win but I’m glad we held on to our unbeaten record. It was good to be backing such a worthwhile cause.

“I’m a fan of Pro-Life, who run Renfrewshire Sports Charity, and the fact that every penny profit goes to good causes like Accord and St Vincent’s that’s why I put the game up for auction in the first place.

Big-hearted Buddie Neil McMahon won the chance to get a team together to face the legends after he put in the highest bid at a charity auction to raise funds for RSC.

Gayle Branningan, chief at the charity, said: “It was a smashing game to watch and so competitive we all forgot about the weather,

“We are grateful to Alex, who has supported us since he first took over at St Mirren and continues to do so, for bringing his team along and making this a special night for Neil and his nutters who proved they’re not so daft after all with such a close game.”


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Award-winning theatre maker premieres new show in Paisley


Paisley is set for a unique Halloween spectacular as multi-award-winning visual theatre maker Al Seed holds the world premiere of his latest solo show The Tapping as part of the town’s winter festivities.


The show – a gothic-horror melodrama based upon Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven – is part of the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid and taking place during its Halloween festival, in Paisley Town Hall from 26 to 27 October.

Al – a former artist in residence at Glasgow’s The Arches – is a critically-acclaimed performer who designed his latest performance based upon a long-term fascination with the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, and elements from Greek myths.


The show is one of the first to be funded through Renfrewshire’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund – a five-year £500k programme to transform the town’s creative scene and build up cultural capacity during the Paisley 2021 bid.

Paisley 2021 Project Director Jean Cameron said: “For an artist as well respected as Al Seed to premiere his new show here is a major coup for Paisley ahead of the bid going in next year – and it just highlights our growing reputation as one of Scotland’s key cultural destinations.

“We are delighted the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund has enabled Al to create this original piece of work and I would recommend you book early for what is sure to be a fantastic spectacle in one of Paisley’s iconic venues.”

The Tapping is described as ‘drawing upon the myth of Orpheus’ descent into the underworld’ and will ‘take its audience down a hallucinatory spiral of madness’ within the stunning backdrop of Paisley Town Hall.

The show relies heavily upon strong visual and design elements, original music, and the space in which it is set, while drawing upon the history and conventions of gothic-horror literature and art, and related genres.

Al Seed added: “I am delighted to be presenting the debut of The Tapping at Paisley Town Hall and in support of the Paisley 2021 bid.

“This past year it has been wonderful to receive so much support in the making of the show; especially from the staff at Paisley Arts Centre, Johnstone Town Hall, and Paisley Town Hall itself. I am now really looking forward to sharing the finished results.”

The Tapping will be at Paisley Town Hall from 26 to 27 October. Tickets – costing £10 and £6 – are available now at or by calling 0300 300 1210.

The show is being produced by FERAL Arts in association with Renfrewshire Leisure. Supported by Renfrewshire Council’s Culture, Events and Heritage Fund as part of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021

Paisley’s Halloween festival is free to attend and runs from Friday 28 until Saturday 29 October and will feature a spectacular lantern-lit parade through the town and a fire garden of flame-breathing sculptures. More information at

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New savings website helps give residents some credit

Frances McCann (Scotwest); Margaret Bryce (Johnstone Credit Union); Heather Kay (Engage Renfrewshire); Provost Anne Hall; Stacey Mathieson (Renfrewshire-Wide Credit Union); Sean Sandland (White Cart Credit Union); Cathy Mitchell (White Cart Credit Union); Bill Ingles (Gleniffer Credit Union); Paula Ferrier (My Credit Union Renfrewshire); Alan McNiven (Engage Renfrewshire).

Renfrewshire’s five credit unions have teamed up to offer a one-stop-shop website aimed at covering the savings and loan needs of everybody in the area.

Frances McCann (Scotwest); Margaret Bryce (Johnstone Credit Union); Heather Kay (Engage Renfrewshire); Provost Anne Hall; Stacey Mathieson (Renfrewshire-Wide Credit Union); Sean Sandland (White Cart Credit Union); Cathy Mitchell (White Cart Credit Union); Bill Ingles (Gleniffer Credit Union); Paula Ferrier (My Credit Union Renfrewshire); Alan McNiven (Engage Renfrewshire).

Frances McCann (Scotwest); Margaret Bryce (Johnstone Credit Union); Heather Kay (Engage Renfrewshire); Provost Anne Hall; Stacey Mathieson (Renfrewshire-Wide Credit Union); Sean Sandland (White Cart Credit Union); Cathy Mitchell (White Cart Credit Union); Bill Ingles (Gleniffer Credit Union); Paula Ferrier (My Credit Union Renfrewshire); Alan McNiven (Engage Renfrewshire).

The new site at has just been launched and brings together Gleniffer, Johnstone, Renfrewshire-Wide, Scotwest and White Cart credit unions.

It means the various services offered by the five organisations are available in one place – allowing visitors to find whatever savings and borrowing plan suits them and link through to the credit union website.

children from Hillview Nursery with Paula Ferrier of My Credit Union Renfrewshire

children from Hillview Nursery with Paula Ferrier of My Credit Union Renfrewshire

The website was funded through Renfrewshire Council’s Tackling Poverty Programme – a two-year £6m scheme covering 50 projects aimed at taking on the causes of deprivation.

Staff from local third-sector group Engage Renfrewshire also played a key role in co-ordinating the project.

nursery child Robbie McGlynn

nursery child Robbie McGlynn

And representatives of all five credit unions were joined by councillors in Paisley’s Piazza to promote the scheme to lunchtime shoppers.

They were joined by kids from Childcare First’s Hillview Nursery in Ferguslie Park – one of the first organisations to make use of the new website.

Paula Ferrier, marketing officer for, said: “The website signposts the users to a credit union which suits their needs.

“The five credit unions all offer different things but whatever the user is looking for – savings, a mortgage, a car loan, a funeral loan – it’s all there.

“We aren’t like the banks in that we aren’t in competition – we all work together and support each other.

“We are not-for-profit organisations and our members are the shareholders so by saving with us people are giving back to the community.”

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall was there to help launch the scheme and she added: “The website is a great idea and really easy to use – I would recommend anybody who is thinking about borrowing any money have a look at it.

“We are delighted to have funded this scheme through the council’s Tackling Poverty programme – by helping the credit unions market what they offer we are putting money back into the pockets of people who need it most.

“Since the programme started in 2015 it has helped create more than 600 new credit union members across Renfrewshire, and saved local people a total of £84,000 on interest payments compare to high street banks.”

You can see the new website now at