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Frightened Rabbit with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, at Paisley Abbey

Photographs from Frightened Rabbit’s sold out concert with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at Paisley Abbey, part of Paisley’s National Festival, The Spree.

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Paisley statues yarn bombed

She was infamous for not being amused but even Queen Victoria would have raised a smile as her statue was one of a string across Paisley to be yarn bombed.

Passers-by stopped in their tracks when they saw the legendary monarch, who stands in Dunn Square, sporting a specially created tartan crinoline skirt and traffic cone crown.

The William Dunn memorial was also dressed and given silver knitted cups to mark the fact it used to be a water fountain.

Robert Tannahill’s statue in Abbey Close also enjoyed a makeover with the town’s famous weaver poet dressed in a knitted scarf with musical notes, waistcoat and gaiters.

A knitted lawn with flowers completed the yarn bombing to mark his catalogue of songs and poems celebrating nature.

The installations are part of the Winter Coats yarn bombing project, where a series of local groups worked with textile artists Ashley Holdsworth and Bex Smith to research historical figures and then create a garment for them.

With the support of the NHS’s Network Services, Capability Scotland, the Phoenix Activity Group, Craft to Recover, Laugh n Craft, the Disability Resource Centre and patients from wards at Dykebar and Leverndale all took part.

Their colourful creations were installed to coincide with the start of Renfrewshire’s contribution to the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival.

The display of street art also saw statues of Sir Peter and Thomas Coats beside Dunn Square dressed in a Paisley pattern kilt and a waistcoat decorated with thread and ribbon to represent the family’s textiles empire and history.

At the town’s Russell Institute, where local children used to receive their inoculations, some of the infant statues were draped with sock teddy bunting. The cuddly toys were crafted to come with miniature slings and walking sticks in recognition of the institute’s child welfare clinic roots.

The town’s other illustrious textile family weren’t forgotten, with George Clark’s statue given a mortar board in honour of his family’s passion for education.

Renowned ornithologist and poet Alexander Wilson’s statue at Abbey Close was yarn bombed with a bird cage and birds.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The project is a fitting contribution to the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival and shows how the different groups all researched and understood the history of the statues and who they commemorate.

“It’s a great way of shining a light on our unique cultural heritage as we bid to be UK City of Culture for 2021. “

The Winter Coats initiative is part of a wider five year project, Renfrewshire Council’s Paisley Townscape Heritage Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme 2.

It has also received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland and has a total budget of £4.5m.

Ten per cent of the funding is allocated to a Cultural and Heritage programme which aims to engage the community in the architectural and textiles heritage of Paisley.

Lucy Casot, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland said: “Thanks to funds raised through the National Lottery, a new sense of belief and pride in Paisley’s past is growing. Fun projects like this, rooted in the town’s historic past clearly demonstrate the creative spirit alive today.

“We have invested in many projects across the town which have seen historic buildings restored, communities exploring their heritage and also confirmed our latest commitment with initial support for the transformational plans for Paisley’s museum.”

Michael Easson from Historic Environment Scotland, which partly funded the project, said: “It’s exciting to see an innovative and fun new initiative to engage people across myriad backgrounds with their local built environment.

“I hope this brings a wider awareness to the Renfrewshire Mental Health Arts Festival as well as the Historic Environment Scotland supported Paisley TH.CARS2 scheme.”

The practice of yarn bombing is thought to have started in the US by Texas knitters who wanted to find a creative way to use their leftover and unfinished knitting projects. It’s since been adopted across the globe.

A wider network of groups have also been making scarves to tie onto railings which will be donated to the homeless service in Paisley’s Abercorn Street.

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£45.7m Paisley UK City of Culture 2021 venue investment confirmed

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has been boosted by a massive £45.7m town centre investment package to help the town host the title, given the green light today by councillors.

A meeting of Renfrewshire Council agreed to set aside funds for major infrastructure projects which support the wider push to transform Paisley’s future using the power of its internationally-significant heritage and cultural story.

Paisley Town Hall lit up in support of the bid

The news comes as the town – the only Scottish place to make the final UK City of Culture 2021 shortlist – prepares to submit its bid to the UK Government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport tomorrow.

Today’s investment will support the long-term future of some of the town’s historic venues and the wider regeneration of Paisley – while also ensuring the town is ready to host the 2021 title should it be announced as the winner. It includes:

– £22m for a major modernisation of Paisley Town Hall. The 135-year-old venue will get a replacement electrical system as well as an extensive programme of improvements covering an improved main hall, stage and lighting, plus a new function suite, kitchen and bar;

– £10m set aside for town centre transport and public realm improvements to support both the 2021 bid and the long-term regeneration of the town centre. That will include investment to road, public transport and pedestrian access, and improvements to buildings and lighting;

– a £7.7million redevelopment at St James playing field including an area for large outdoor events, upgraded grass pitches, new pavilion and café; and an upgrade to Ferguslie Park Sports Centre;

– £3.5m set aside to turn the disused Galbraiths warehouse in Back Sneddon Street into a venue capable of hosting large-scale art exhibitions such as the Turner Prize, which typically goes to the UK City of Culture host. This money will only be spent should Paisley win the 2021 title;

– £2.5m for a wide-ranging revamp of Paisley Arts Centre including improved a replacement electrical system and toilets, dressing rooms, seats and staging, as well as access improvements.

The money committed today is over and above funding previously set aside for three projects already under way – the new museum store set to open in a basement of a high street unit later this year, the new Paisley library to be built further up the same street, and a £42m revamp of Paisley Museum, for which it was announced yesterday £4.9m of National Lottery money has been earmarked.

Paisley is joined on the final UK City of Culture 2021 shortlist by Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland, and Swansea, with a decision due in December. There has never been a Scottish winner. The bid is due to be sent off tomorrow with a mass public show of support at Paisley Cross from 10.30am.

Today’s investment comes as a local group – the Paisley Community Trust – prepare to unveil their own plans for a cinema and theatre complex in the town centre.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “The package of measures unveiled today shows the scale of our ambition for Paisley and Renfrewshire over the next decade.

“We are making sure Paisley is equipped to host the UK City of Culture title while also supporting the wider vision to use our unique and internationally-significant heritage and cultural story to transform the area’s future.

“Paisley town centre needs a boost – and the way we can deliver that is by using what sets us apart to bring people back into the town.

“Paisley has massive potential as a visitor destination and is already making a name for itself as an event venue. Improving the physical and travel infrastructure of the town centre makes it easier for people to get here, and a more attractive place to spend time.

“The work already under way on the new museum store and library – with plans to transform the museum also in the pipeline – are the first steps towards turning our high street into a culture street, bringing new life and footfall which will allow traders to thrive.

“At the same time, the scale of the investment in the town hall and arts centre will make these two outstanding listed buildings fit for the 21st century as venues capable of hosting the type of international-class programming which the UK City of Culture year will bring.

“And to have a local group preparing to unveil their own set of plans for an arts venue in the town centre just shows the extent to which the wider community and private sector see the potential of what culture can do for Paisley.

“There is nothing which could transform Paisley more than winning the UK City of Culture 2021 title – the journey we want to go on will move to a totally different level, with a year of major events and world-class programming which everybody will be invited to enjoy and benefit from.

“We need this title and Paisley Buddies have shown they want it to happen – this investment will mean we will be ready and able to host it, and I commend councillors for the long-term vision they have shown today.”

It is estimated Paisley’s 2021 year could bring a £175m economic boost and create and sustain more than 4,700 jobs over a ten-year period, while attracting more than 800,000 visitors in 2021.

Current UK City of Culture hosts Hull have seen £1 billion of investment since winning the title in 2013, with the city attracting 1.4m visitors in just the first three months of its year in the spotlight.

For more information on Paisley’s bid, see www.paisley2021.co.uk

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Hundreds of buddies take part in Wee Dig

Hundreds of people came out to learn more about archaeology last week by taking part in the Wee Dig 2017.

Local school pupils, community groups and members of the public visited the dig over the course of the week to learn more about the mysterious grounds next to Paisley Abbey.

The sessions involved experiencing the dig itself, learning about various archaeological techniques and looking at artefacts from previous digs.  A film on the Paisley Abbey Drain was also shown to allow visitors to see what is under the area of the dig site.

The Paisley “Wee Dig 2017” project unearthed a previously unexplored part of the Abbey Drain site and allowed people to get involved.

The project was funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Stories, Stones and Bones programme as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and ties in with Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Paisley’s iconic 12th century Abbey is an outstanding architectural gem in the town and was also the cradle of the Royal House of Stewart as a number of the Stewarts were buried within its walls. It is also believed that Robert II, the first Stewart king of Scotland and the grandson of Robert the Bruce, was born within the walls of Paisley’s Abbey. The Abbey also has a fascinating underground history – the magnificent medieval Abbey Drain.

Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Cllr Iain Nicolson said: “There has been a great deal of interest from the public to participate in and learn more about the ‘Wee Dig 2017’. It was fantastic to see some many people get their hands dirty and get excited and enthused about the town’s rich archaeological heritage.”

The dig and supporting activities were led by archaeologist firm GUARD Archaeology Limited who managed the project on the ground, delivered the workshops and answered questions throughout the week on the project.

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Spectacular programme revealed for Paisley’s winter events season

The spectacular programme has been revealed for this year’s winter events season in Paisley – with Northern Irish rockers Ash set to headline the town’s annual Christmas Lights Switch On.

Paisley’s winter events programme will begin with the two-day Halloween Festival on Friday 27 and Saturday 28 October. The special 80’s themed Paisley Fireworks Spectacular will take place on the Saturday 4 November with the ever-popular Christmas Lights Switch On taking place two weeks later on Saturday 18 November.

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Winter events excitement will extend across Renfrewshire with live music and free family entertainment taking place at Christmas Lights Switch Ons in Renfrew on Saturday 25 November and Johnstone on Saturday 2 December. The annual MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards comes to Paisley for the first time ever and will be held at Paisley Town Hall on Saturday 2 December.

Programme highlights include:

  • the spooktacular Halloween Parade through Paisley town centre with a stunning fire monster on a Paisley Chariot, New Orleans style street band Mr Wilson’s Second Liners Band, the Spark! Drummers and much more.

 

  • a spectacular Fire Garden and Fire Stage at Bridge Street with soundscapes, projections and illuminations to make for a real extravaganza of sight and sound in Abbey Close.

 

  • a night of music, haunted performers and spooky goings-on with a Halloween Ball at Paisley Town Hall and Friday Fright Night at Paisley Museum, organised by Renfrewshire Leisure.

 

  • an 80s themed Silent Disco in Paisley Town Hall during the afternoon and broadcast from Clyde One DJs in the evening ahead of the Paisley Fireworks Spectacular at Abbey Close.

 

  • The famous Reindeer Parade starting and finishing on Paisley High Street before Santa opens his grotto outside the Paisley Centre.

 

  • a Live Stage with performance by music headliners Ash before Paisley’s festive season is officially marked with the annual Christmas Lights Switch On.

The winter season is part of a wider programme of events in Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Paisley was this summer named as the only Scottish location on the shortlist for the title, alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.

The bid is part of a wider push to use Paisley’s unique heritage and cultural story to transform the future of the whole Renfrewshire area, with the final bid document due to be submitted to the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport at the end of the month.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “The Halloween Festival, Fireworks Spectacular and Christmas Lights Switch On are established favourites in the town’s events calendar – and this year Paisley’s winter events programme is even bigger and better than ever.

“One of the key aims of Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is to showcase the town’s proven track record in hosting a diverse range of major cultural activities and the winter events programme highlights just that.”

Tim Wheeler, frontman of Ash, said: “We’re really looking forward to playing Paisley for the switching on of the Christmas lights this year. Hopefully our tunes will get the elves dancing and the Christmas spirit flowing.”

Santa Claus, who visited the town for the launch of Paisley’s winter events programme, is looking forward to the Christmas Lights Switch On and said: “It will be a happy, wonderful occasion. Paisley’s real strength is its great people and I know they’ll turn out to see me and enjoy the night.”

Gerry Lyons, DJ for the 80s themed Silent Disco and family fun at the Fireworks Spectacular, said: “The eighties was a great decade for music and I’ll be playing everything from classic pop like Wham through to power ballads and iconic tunes like Michael Jackson’s thriller. The silent disco will see people in the room listen to different music through head phones, so they’re dancing to different tunes and it’s great fun.”

Find out more information at www.paisley2021.co.uk.

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Major town centre investment to be considered by councillors

town hall spring

A major package of capital investment in Paisley town centre is set to be considered by Renfrewshire councillors when they meet next week.

Plans being put forward propose a package of investment totalling £45.7million in refurbishment and upgrades to Paisley Town Hall, Paisley Arts Centre, a new venue at the former Galbraith’s site on Back Sneddon Street in the town; improvements to Paisley town centre as well as an upgrade to St James Playing field.

town hall spring

Paisley Town Hall

The plans are part of the town’s final bid for the UK City of Culture 2021 competition, which is also being considered by councillors next week, with a decision on the winner expected by the end of the year.

Paisley was this summer named as the only Scottish bidder on the shortlist for the 2021 competition, alongside Coventry, Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea.

The bid is part of a wider push to use Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage offer to make it a key visitor destination within Scotland, and transform the future of the whole Renfrewshire area.

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “The whole of Renfrewshire has such a rich heritage and world class local talent and this investment will bring significant benefit to communities right across the region.

“Culture and heritage can play such a transformational role in supporting our local economy and improving the opportunities and wellbeing for our communities, investing in improvements to our existing venues and our town centre environment, we can make a real change in the fortunes of the area.

“Winning the title will boost the local economy by £175million, create more than 4,700 local jobs in the area, boost our tourism industry and improve the profile of the area, showing investors how much Renfrewshire has to offer.”

The plans include:

£22million for Paisley Town Hall – to increase performance attendances and attract high quality events to improve the visitor experience and improve the physical infrastructure of the building to secure its long term future

£2.5 million for Paisley Arts Centre – to upgrade electrical works, improve toilet provision, provide changing accommodation for performers, new seating, improved staging, redecoration and improved access arrangements

£10million improvements to Paisley town centre – include improved access into the town centre, pedestrian and cycling routes, public transport, local traffic improvements and investment in the physical appearance of the town centre

£3.5million to transform the former Galbraith’s building on Back Sneddon Street to provide a venue for performance and visual art events.

£7.7million redevelopment of facilities at St James playing field including an upgrade to grass pitches, a new pavilion and café, and an area to accommodate large scale events; and an upgrade to the existing Ferguslie Park Sports Centre.

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Work starts on archaeological dig to explore a mysterious site near Paisley Abbey

Work has started to unearth a mysterious site next to the grounds of Paisley Abbey as part of an archaeological dig.

Paisley Abbey archaeological dig 18.9.17

The Paisley “Wee Dig 2017” is taking place from 18 to 23 September 2017. This project will investigate a previously unexplored part of the Abbey Drain site excavated to shed light on what lies beneath alongside a programme of events to allow people to get involved. This ties in with ambitions set out in the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

The project has been funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Stories, Stones and Bones programme as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

Paisley’s iconic 12th century Abbey is an outstanding architectural gem in the town and was also the cradle of the Royal House of Stewart as a number of the Stewarts were buried within its walls. It is also believed that Robert II, the first Stewart king of Scotland and the grandson of Robert the Bruce, was born within the walls of Paisley’s Abbey. The Abbey also has a fascinating underground history – the magnificent medieval Abbey Walkway.

The “Wee Dig 2017” will expand what is already known about Paisley’s monastic past as well as inspiring some budding archaeologists of the future.

Leader of Renfrewshire Council, Cllr Iain Nicolson said: “The ‘Wee Dig 2017’ celebrates our town’s unique history and heritage and is a great way for the public to learn more about Paisley’s past and learn new skills in the process.

“This project ties in ties in with the main themes of our Paisley Town Centre Action Plan 2016 – 2026 which aims to regenerate the town centre and create jobs and also highlights how we are delivering on these plans by making the most of our assets to attract more people and businesses into the town.”

Lucy Casot, Head of HLF in Scotland, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund is a key partner in the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and it’s our ambition that people of all ages will have the chance to discover something new about the heritage they care about.

“We’re delighted that, thanks to funding from the National Lottery, the wee Dig will be opening the door to fun, learning and everlasting memories for many people as we celebrate this special year.”

Over the course of the week a series of interactive workshops are taking place with local school children, community groups and members of the public. These sessions will involve experiencing the dig itself, learning about various archaeological techniques and looking at artefacts from previous digs.  A film on the Paisley Abbey Walkway will be featured to allow visitors to see what is under the area of the dig site.

The dig and supporting activities will be led by archaeologist firm GUARD Archaeology Limited who will manage the project on the ground, lead the workshops and be on hand to answer questions about what is uncovered.

GUARD Archaeologist, Bob Will, said: “The drain is an amazing architectural structure. It’s so well built and very detailed – it’s a very interesting structure to investigate.

“Working with volunteers from the Renfrewshire Local History Forum, community groups and members of the public who will visit the site this week we will unearth the site and see what we can find.”

The public is encouraged to come along, get involved and to share their experiences of this archaeology event, taking place during archaeology month, on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #WeeDig2017.

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ONE MONTH TILL PAISLEY’S SPREE-TACULAR FESTIVAL !

PAISLEY’S SPREE RETURNS 13TH – 24th OCTOBER

Paisley’s National Festival and one of the biggest events in Scotland’s cultural calendar, The Spree is back for its sixth consecutive year with some of the biggest names in Scottish music, comedy and entertainment, including a sold-out homecoming show from Paolo Nutini.

The twelve-day extravaganza will see dozens of events take place throughout Paisley between 13th and 24th October and tickets are available now via www.thespree.co.uk.

The Spree is taking place as part of the push towards Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 and is helping cement Paisley’s place as a key destination on Scotland’s events map.

This year’s line-up includes a spectacular show from Frightened Rabbit, who are collaborating with The Royal Scottish National Orchestra for a once in a lifetime performance in the stunning surrounding of Paisley Abbey. Frightened Rabbit frontman, Scott Hutchison commented “This will be the last show of our current campaign and we’re excited it’s going to be such a special one to end on. Playing with the RSNO will be an absolute privilege and we can’t wait to hear it as much as everyone else. Having seen previous performances by The Twilight Sad and Idlewild, I’m sure it’s going to be a special night. See you round the organ for a heart-warming rendition of Keep Yourself Warm!”

Trad heavyweights, Breabach are joined by some of the country’s finest, world class musicians; Kris Drever and Talisk; as multi-award-winning Irish artist Sharon Shannon, will take to the stage with finalists from this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk awards, Fara.

This year’s festival will be kicking off with a twist, opening with a celebration of twin festival, the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) one of India’s most prestigious festivals; the musical collaboration will weave together the two cultures featuring traditional music from India and Scotland in celebration of friendship and connections.

Other acts on the bill include Dougie McLean, Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards, the Pictish Trail, Emma Pollock and RM Hubbert, and a very special show where James Grant explores Paisley’s Untold Story.

The Spree is renowned for hosting some of the biggest names in Scottish comedy and this year is no exception, teaming up with the Gilded Balloon to showcase some of the hottest names in comedy which are set to have the audience in stiches from start to finish.

The festival also includes theatre, film and spoken word, with a full programme of kids events, with much of the action taking place in a specially-erected Spiegeltent in the town centre.

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “The Spree festival is now firmly established on Scotland’s festival calendar and we are very excited by this year’s line-up, with almost 60 shows in various venues and a wide range of art forms – from music and dance to theatre and poetry, and plenty for the kids during the October holidays.

“This year’s festival is extra special because it is taking place so close to the final decision over whether Paisley will be named the UK City of Culture 2021.

“As well as showcasing Paisley’s unique venues and ability to host major events with big Scottish and international names, we are delighted The Spree offers a platform for some of Paisley’s fantastic home-grown talent too.”

The Spree is taking place in partnership with local bar Burger and Keg and Fosters, who will be programming additional acts in the Burger and Keg Live Tent during the festival, with details to be revealed soon.

The festival is also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and the British Council.

 

Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “We are delighted to be once again supporting The Spree through our National Programme, and I have no doubt this year’s festival will capture the imagination of visitors with some hugely exciting Scottish and international acts on the bill. Scotland is the perfect stage for events, and The Spree is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Paisley’s cultural offering, especially in support of the UK City of Culture 2021 bid.

 

Tickets and info are available from www.thespree.co.uk and from the Box Office on

0300 300 1210.

For more information, contact Wire:

Laura Craik | laura@wearewire.co | 0141 648 9610 | 07817 765 888

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Archaeology buffs encouraged to take part in Wee Dig

Budding Lara Croft’s and Indiana Jones’ are being given the opportunity to take part in an archaeological dig to unearth a mysterious site next to the grounds of Paisley Abbey.

The Paisley “Wee Dig 2017” will take place between 18 and 24 September 2017. This significant heritage-led regeneration project will see a previously unexplored part of the Abbey Drain site excavated to shed light on what lies beneath alongside a programme of events to allow people to get involved. This ties in with ambitions set out in the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

The north west side of the building. Original source – black & white 3½” x 5½” photograph

As part of the week-long programme of events a series of interactive workshops will be held with a number of local groups and members of the public. These sessions will involve experiencing the dig itself, learning about various archaeological techniques and looking at artefacts from previous digs. Visuals of the Paisley Abbey Drain will be featured to allow visitors to see what is under the area of the dig site.

Renfrewshire Council has been awarded £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Stories, Stones and Bones programme as part of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology to conduct a ‘Wee Dig’ of part of the Abbey Drain site.

The 12th century Abbey is renowned not only for its outstanding architecture but also as the cradle of the Royal House of Stewart as a number of the Stewarts were buried within its walls. It is also believed that Robert II, the first Stewart king of Scotland and the grandson of Robert the Bruce, was born within the walls of Paisley’s Abbey. The Abbey also has a fascinating underground history – the magnificent medieval Abbey Drain.

Community groups and members of the public will be able to participate in the Wee Dig on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 September with a programme of events, workshops and talks laid on between 10.30am – 3pm on each day. Consultant archaeologists Guard Archaeology Ltd will also be on hand to answer questions from members of the public.

School children from across Renfrewshire will also get the chance to be part of the Wee Dig. Pupils from Williamsburgh Primary School, East Fulton Primary School and Kilbarchan Primary School will attend separate workshop sessions on site earlier in the week.

Renfrewshire Council Depute Leader, Cllr Jim Paterson said: “The ‘Wee Dig 2017’ will help bring archaeology to life not only for the school children attending the workshops but also for members of the public who have an interest in learning more about their town.

“This project celebrates our unique heritage – one of the main themes of our Paisley Town Centre Action Plan 2016 – 2026 which aims to regenerate the town centre and create jobs.”

Commenting, Lucy Casot, Head of HLF in Scotland, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund is a key partner in the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and it’s our ambition that people of all ages will have the chance to discover something new about the heritage they care about. We’re delighted that, thanks to funding from the National Lottery, the wee Dig will be opening the door to fun, learning and everlasting memories for many people as we celebrate this special year.”

Consultant archaeologists Guard Archaeology Ltd will be supported all week by volunteers from the Renfrewshire Local History Forum.

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Kids programme unveiled for The Spree festival

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Paisley’s annual The Spree festival has unveiled its family programme offering a range of performances and activities to help keep the kids entertained this October break.

The bumper music, comedy and arts festival, which is now in its sixth year and taking place as part of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, will take place from Friday 13 to Tuesday 24 October with a jam packed programme of activities for the family.

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The majority of the shows under the family programme are free to attend and will offer a range of experiences for kids.

The National Theatre of Scotland will perform their fantastically fun new show Rocket Post which has a great mix of songs and storytelling and is full of humour, heart and hope for the future. The show is based on a true story set in the Western Isles in 1934. It’s a tale of miscommunication, vaulting ambition and the joyous discoveries that happen when everything goes wrong.

Jackie Wylie, Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland, said: “I am thrilled that the National Theatre of Scotland is able to take part in the fabulous festival that is  The Spree, this year, and  share our delightful new family show Rocket Post and accompanying workshop with Paisley audiences.”

Those looking for an exciting challenge can take part in Big Telly Company’s Operation Paisley: Alien Pursuit, a game for families where they are challenged with deciphering a number of clues as a team.

Little ones will be kept entertained with a range of activities from interactive Bookbug sessions and opportunities to meet Badger the Mystical Mutt, star of a series of chart-topping illustrated children’s books. There will also be old favourites like the Punch & Judy puppet show in the town.

Also taking place over the festival is a comedy show written and performed by kids who have participated in workshops where they will learn how to write and deliver sketches based on their own funny experiences. Meanwhile music fans can learn more about Gaelic singing and drumming at Fèis Phàislig Workshops or find their groove with the award-winning Buddy Beat group.

For older kids interested in digital art they will have the opportunity to participate in a digital graffiti board session where they can also learn about coding with Computer Xplorers. Craft enthusiasts can unleash their creative flair at jewellery workshops while budding artists and writers can join AS Creatives for a range of activity workshops covering everything from art to creative writing and poetry.

Paisley 2021 bid director, Jean Cameron, said: “The Spree programme this year offers so many opportunities for kids of all ages to get involved and explore their talents by sampling a diverse range of creative activities.

“The scale and range of acts and activities taking place as part of The Spree has continued to grow in recent years and is now firmly established as a key date in Scotland’s festival calendar. This year is shaping up to be the best yet, with a number of unique performances in support of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021. It really will offer something for everyone.”

The Spree will also feature acts such as Paolo Nutini and Frightened Rabbit alongside the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, who will be performing at Paisley’s iconic 12th century Abbey during the festival. Much of the action will take place in a specially-erected Spiegeltent in the town centre, which will host trad acts such as Dougie MacLean and Canada’s De Temps Antan. While the Paisley Arts Centre will welcome Emma Pollock and RM Hubbert among a host of other acts.

This year’s festival is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Places for many of the family activities and performances can be booked online at www.thespree.co.uk

Tickets can be bought online at www.thespree.co.uk and from Renfrewshire Leisure on 0300 300 1210. Tickets are also on sale in InCube Shop, 9b Gilmour Street; PaisleyArts Centre, New Street; and Feel the Groove, Causeyside Street.