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MAJOR SUCCESS FOR JOHNSTONE BANDS

The two Johnstone pipe bands made the short trip to Paisley at the weekend to take part in the British Pipe Band Championships at the St James Playing Fields.  The two World Championship winning bands were competing for the first time in a major championship at their new promoted grades of 1 and 4a.

Grade 4a band with their 3rd place trophy. Pictures by John Shaw.

The Grade 4a band carried on from their successful season last year with third place from a field of seventeen in the final, a fine result given the step up in class of the opposition.

The Grade 1 band also had a fine result coming tenth of sixteen in their final, beating some well established Grade 1 bands in the process.

some of the Grade 1 drummers warming up prior to their competition.

Pipe Major Keith Bowes Jr commented, “I was delighted that the Johnstone grade 4 and grade 1 bands performed well at the first major competition of the year.  With both bands being newly promoted it was great to see them do so well, as it is never easy to make an impact as you move up the grades. There is always lots to improve on, but as long as the standard of the performances continue to improve then I can’t ask for much more.  I was also delighted to see many of our Renfrewshire learners came for a listen and join in with the bands to play during the march past, I hope they will have been inspired for what they can achieve in the future.”

The Johnstone Bands’ next competitions are Shotts Highland Games on the on the 3rd June followed quickly by the UK Championships in Belfast on the 10th June.

Johnstone Pipe Band are currently on the lookout for sponsorship to help enable them expand and progress the band and their educational activities, for further information please contact the band on 07751 500520.  Details on the band’s learner setup can also be found by calling the same number.

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Linwood young people showcase power of drama for 2021 bid

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Young people from Linwood have put together a showcase to highlight the power of drama and how it can transform lives and boost mental health.

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The show – called How Amdram changed our lives – was created by members of Linwood Youth Voice to tell their unique stories since becoming involved in their local am dram group and will take place at Paisley Town Hall on Thursday 25 May from 7 until 9pm.

The showcase features four films made by the young people highlighting how effective drama can be in boosting self-belief and confidence, and how important it is to tackle barriers to accessing it, such as cost and geography.

The event also includes a play on why mental health has become an important issue for young people, which was also voted as the priority issue for Renfrewshire’s Youth Commission.

The team behind it are supported by the Renfrewshire Council’s youth services team, who run two thriving groups in the town, CLASS Acts (for eight to 11 year olds) and LADDS-Linwood Area of Dance Drama and Song for secondary-school-aged pupils.

The project received funding from Renfrewshire’s Culture Heritage and Events Fund, designed to boost the area’s creative capacity as part of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

Nathan McCuaig, aged 17 and chairperson of Linwood Youth Voice, said “Most of the members felt their lives had been changed by amateur dramatics and we can’t wait to share all the work we have been doing on the event.

“Mental wellbeing is such a big thing for young people. Our show puts a spotlight on why local activities are so important to the health and wellbeing of young people, changing how they think and feel about themselves and getting involved in their community.”

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “We were delighted to support this very worthwhile project through the Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.

“Part of the reason for bidding for UK City of Culture 2021 is that we know culture has the power to make people’s lives better and we want to harness that, now and in the future.

“It is great to see the young people of Linwood are spreading that very message as part of this show.”

Wendy Grubb, a community learning officer with Youth Services, added: “The young people have worked really hard to shine a light on the power of drama and the arts and are really excited to show people what they have done.

“By taking part in these groups, their confidence has increased and it has allowed them to be able to express themselves, make many new friends and take part in other community projects.”

For more information, contact Wendy Grubb on 0141 889 1110 or email youth @renfrewshire.gov.uk

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4,000 of world’s best pipers descend on Paisley for British Championships

Around 4,000 of the world’s top pipers and drummers descended on Paisley today to contest some of bagpiping’s most prestigious titles during the British Pipe Band Championships.

More than 140 bands from as far afield as Canada, Denmark and Ireland formed an incredible spectacle of sight and sound in town’s St James Playing Fields.

Pictured l-R Erin Charker age 12 from Inchinnan Niamh Burns 11 and Olivia Burns age 6 shelter from Rain showers

A crowd of thousands gathered to see bands compete across various grades, watched by judges from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.

The championships are the first in piping’s annual calendar of ‘majors’ and were taking place as part of the push towards Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

This was the second of a three-year run in Paisley for the event.

The free family event also featured a Highland dancing competition and children’s entertainment zone, which included the team from Renfrewshire’s award-winning Street Stuff youth diversionary scheme.

There was also a bar and outdoor food village boasting quality cuisine from across Scotland.

The final marchpast was watched over by event chieftain Corinne Hutton – founder of the Finding Your feet charity, and the first quadruple amputee to climb Ben Nevis.

She was joined for the prize-giving by Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron, in one of her first official engagements since being voted into her new role this week.

Provost Cameron said: “I was delighted to be part of this event, which saw the people of Paisley give a warm welcome to our thousands of visitors.

“Today’s success shows the town’s ability to host big crowds and events of national importance – which bodes well for the UK City of Culture 2021 bid.”

Ian Embelton of the RSPBA added: “Once again, Paisley made a great host for the first major championships of the season.

“We were pleased with the turnout from bands and spectators, who enjoyed some first-class piping throughout the day.”

For a full list of winners from today, see www.rspba.org. For more information on Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid, see www.paisley2021.co.uk

Photos taken by Mark F Gibson / Gibson Digital

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Paisley to welcome 4,000 pipers for British Championships

Paisley will be invaded by a tartan army on Saturday when more than 4,000 of the world’s best pipers and drummers descend on the town for the British Pipe Band Championships.

Mark F Gibson / Gibson Digital – infogibsondigital@gmail.co.uk
www.gibsondigital.co.uk

The St James Playing Fields will again host one of the most prestigious events on the world bagpiping calendar, as part of the push towards Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

More than 140 pipe bands from as far afield as Canada, Denmark and Ireland will compete in the day-long event before judges from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA).

Mark F Gibson / Gibson Digital – infogibsondigital@gmail.co.uk
www.gibsondigital.co.uk

The event is free to attend and a crowd of thousands is expected – the event arena opens at 10am, with the final march-past and prize-giving to take place around 5.30pm.

Attractions on the day include a bar, as well as a food market with a focus on quality Scottish produce from farm to fork, and the Slug in a Bottle craft market.

Free activities include a Highland dancing competition and children’s entertainment zone including giant inflatables, face painting and sporty fun with the team behind Renfrewshire’s Street Stuff Culture Bus.

This year’s chieftain is Renfrewshire charity champion and quadruple amputee Corinne Hutton – who has helped hundreds of people through her Finding Your Feet charity.

There will be no parking at the site – other than for pipe band coaches – but free shuttle buses will run to and from the free event parking sites at the Paisley 2021 Stadium (Greenhill Road) and West College Scotland (Renfrew Road).

There will also be a free shuttle bus running to and from Paisley Gilmour Street station (Old Sneddon Street entrance) for anybody arriving in town by train. All three shuttle buses run every 15 minutes from 8am to 7.30pm.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron said: “We are thrilled to welcome the British Pipe Band Championships back to the town for the second of its three-year run here.

“Events like this are important for the UK City of Culture 2021 bid as it shows Paisley has the infrastructure and know-how to host large-scale events.

“Our visitors from throughout Scotland and abroad will be guaranteed a warm welcome in the town.”

Ian Embelton of the RSPBA added: “We are pleased to be back in Paisley for another year and delighted to have another huge turnout from bands.

“Everything is in place for a day of top-class competition and I am sure the piping community and visitors alike will find plenty to enjoy.”

More event information is on www.paisley2021.co.uk and a full list of bands and times can be found at www.rspba.org

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National orchestra to ‘take over’ Paisley for 2021 bid

National orchestra

Renfrewshire teenagers dreaming of a career in the music industry are being offered a chance to learn from the best through a unique link-up with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

The RSNO are staging a two-day Takeover event in Paisley in October – culminating a special show in Paisley Town Hall as part of the annual Spree festival.

Up to 50 young people will get to work on every aspect of planning and staging the gig – guided by professionals from the RSNO, including international-class musicians.

The link-up is taking place as part of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, for which the initial bid was lodged at the end of April.

National orchestra

Opportunities include performing or conducting, as well as working on marketing, press and PR, fundraising, learning and engagement, and stage and orchestra management.

The RSNO Paisley Takeover is inviting applications now from young people living in Renfrewshire aged 15 to 18 on 24 October 2017.

The application period runs until 23 May and details of how to apply are at www.paisley2021.co.uk.

Jean Cameron, Paisley 2021 bid director said: “A key feature of Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 is in making it easier for residents – particularly young people – to get involved in cultural activity and enjoy the benefits that brings.

“The Takeover is open to any young people with an interest in music – and will be of great experience for anybody considering a career in that field, whether on or off stage.

“Another key bid feature is in bringing artists of international standing to Paisley for local creative talent to learn from – so we are delighted to be working with an organisation of the calibre of the RSNO.

“The RSNO and Paisley already have a good partnership, with the stunning collaborations between the orchestra and some of Scotland’s best bands in Paisley Abbey having formed the musical highlights of recent Spree festivals.”

RSNO Head of Learning and Engagement Samantha Wright added: “We’re delighted to once again open our doors to an influx of young people in this way, offering the chance to run one of Scotland’s busiest performing arts organisations.

“Takeover provides a rare and valuable experience to those seeking to pursue a career in the arts, and is intended to be challenging, stimulating and fun. You never know – we may very well have a future RSNO conductor or chief executive among our group.”

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FIRST EDITION OF PAISLEY POEMS MAGAZINE RELEASED FRIDAY 28TH APRIL

A new magazine featuring poetry with a connection to Paisley releases its first edition this Friday.

The pamphlet-style magazine, Paisley Poems, showcases work from 13 local poets. The poems range from depictions of life in Paisley past and present, to musings on life’s big questions.

The featured poets are: Sarah Baird, Alec Beattie, Eleanor Capaldi, Ryan Goodwin, Kate Gordon, Trisha Heaney, Kathryn Metcalfe, Maxine Rose Munro, David Rae, Max Scratchmann, Morag McDowell Smith, RK Wallace, and Lindsey Shields Waters.

Copies cost just £1.50, and from this Friday they will be available to buy online at www.paisleypoems.scot, as well as in local shops Abbey Books and Rainbow Turtle. The magazine will also be on the shelves of the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh.

Paisley Poems is a true Paisley affair, and is printed by Print Studio Scotland on Seedhill Road.

Founded by 23-year-old Hannah Wilson, Paisley Poems was started with help from Renfrewshire Council’s Culture, Heritage, and Events Fund – created to support Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Hannah said: “The quality of submissions we received was overwhelming, and it was a tough job to whittle it down to just 13 poems.

“Hopefully the first edition gives a good flavour of the different voices of the town, and we’ll be opening up for submissions again soon, so there’ll be plenty of opportunities for more people to get involved!”

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron, said: “We are delighted to have helped fund the first volume of Paisley Poems through our Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.

“The town has such a rich history of written verse, dating back to our original weaver poet Robert Tannahill – so it is fitting the current generation of talent be given this platform to show their work as part of the UK City of Culture bid.

“I look forward to seeing the first edition when published this week and hopefully this is the first of many – I wish the team every success for the future.”

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Human Paisley Pattern sends off town’s 2021 culture title bid

Paisley marked the send-off of the town’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid by forming a human Paisley Pattern in the town centre in a colourful show of mass support.

Around 200 people donned bright T-shirts in front of the striking backdrop of Paisley Town Hall to form the giant teardrop motif – the globally-recognised symbol carrying the town’s name – to mark the bid being lodged with the UK Government today.

The giant gathering included a wide cross-section of the community, with pupils from local schools Williamsburgh Primary and Castlehead High, plus local businesses, disability groups, cultural organisations, and staff and students from the University of the West of Scotland and West College Scotland.

The teardrop shape was choreographed by and included staff and young people from PACE Youth Theatre – one of the largest groups of its kind in the UK.

Paisley is bidding for the UK City of Culture 2021 title as part of wider plans to transform the area’s future using its unique cultural and heritage story.

The 30-page bid document is now being lodged with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport ahead of Friday’s deadline. A shortlist is expected over the summer, with the winner to be announced at the end of the year.

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture has captured the imagination of the whole town over the past 18 months – with more than 30,000 people involved in the conversation around it.

“That was never more evident than in the phenomenal response to the call-out for people to join the human Paisley Pattern photo.

“People of all ages and backgrounds – senior managers, schoolkids, business owners and artists – were lined up together and for me that sums up what Paisley’s bid is about…everybody coming together to show how much we want this title.

“The bid document submitted to DCMS this week carries the voices and hopes of those people – as well as a clear vision of how Paisley will harness the power of culture to transform our economy, town centre and reputation, and with it, the lives of the people who live here.”

David Wallace, executive director of PACE, and a member of the Paisley 2021 executive bid team, added: “Paisley’s cultural sector has always been strong – this is a town which punches well above its weight in producing talented people.

“But the work going on around the bid gives us a chance not only showcase that to a wider audience, but to also build a lasting legacy of excellence.

“With its stunning architectural heritage, unique venues and great transport links, Paisley is the perfect stage for a year of international-class culture.

“The momentum built up over the past 18 months has set Paisley off on a journey which will continue no matter what – and today shows how excited we are to be part of that.”

For more info on Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021, see paisley2021.co.uk

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Global giant Diageo backs Paisley 2021 bid with special Johnnie Walker bottles

Workers at the world’s biggest Scotch bottling plant raised a glass to Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021– with specially-produced bottles of Johnnie Walker whisky.

Jean Cameron and Gavin Brogan with Diageo staff and the Paisley 2021 bottles

Some of the team behind the Paisley 2021 bid – to be lodged with the UK Government this week – visited the Renfrewshire base of drinks giant Diageo, the latest major business to back the town’s ambitions.

Aside from the limited-edition bottles, Diageo are one of a number of major local businesses who have agreed to donate £20,000 to meet the costs of hosting the title.

The company’s packaging plant at Shieldhall bottles more than 25 million cases of Scotch whisky annually – including iconic brands Johnnie Walker, Buchanan’s, J&B and Bell’s.

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron met some of the staff at the plant – while the 2021 team surprised staff in the canteen with musical performances.

The Paisley 2021 Johnnie Walker bottles are not currently available to the public, but a small limited edition will have been produced at a later date.

Paisley will lodge its bid with the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport later this week. The town is bidding for the title as part of wider plans to use its unique cultural and heritage story to transform its future.

Jean Cameron said: “Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has had incredible backing to date from across the local community – so far, more than 30,000 people have taken part in the conversation around it.

“Along the way we have had wonderful backing from local businesses – with almost 200 to date publicly supporting the bid.

“That includes major local employers of international importance assigning uop as bid sponsors – including Glasgow Airport, WH Malcolm, intu Braehead, Gordon Leslie Group and Coats PLC – and we are thrilled to add Diageo to that list.

“I loved seeing two iconic global Scottish brands – the Paisley Pattern and Johnnie Walker – combined in one beautiful bottle.”

Gavin Brogan, Operations Director at Diageo Shieldhall said “Paisley is famous for its rich history of craftsmanship.

“Today we are part of that living heritage, making the most traditional of Scottish products, Scotch whisky here in Renfrewshire. We’re delighted to support Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021 and we wish the team every success.”

For more on Paisley’s Uk City of Culture 2021 bid, see www.paisley2021.co.uk

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Paisley 2021 bid marked with mass Baker Street sax performance in Gerry Rafferty home town

Paisley marked the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 in spectacular style today – with a mass outdoor rendition of Gerry Rafferty’s classic Baker Street.

Around 25 saxophonists were joined a by a live band and a crowd of hundreds on the town’s High Street for a special performance of the Paisley-born singer’s iconic worldwide hit, in the week of what would have been his 70th birthday.

The Baker Street performance was the brainchild of Tommy McGrory of local music charity Loud and Proud, and delivered in partnership with the Paisley 2021 bid team and backed by youth theatre group PACE.

The event was part of an action-packed weekend for the town – with Abbey Close hosting the third annual Paisley Food Festival, with thousands of visitors enjoying street food from some of the country’s finest traders.

The event also featured cooking demos from BBC Masterchef – The Professionals winner Gary Maclean, free workshops for kids, and live entertainment from acts including The Voice finalists Into the Ark and CBeebies star Katy Ashworth.

And Paisley Town Hall was hosting the final day of the 30th annual Paisley Beer Festival – the largest real-ale festival in Scotland.

Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture will be lodged with the UK Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport this week, ahead of Friday’s deadline.

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: “Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 has been a mass movement, with incredible buy-in from the local community.

“That was evident again today, with a wonderful turnout and a great atmosphere at both the Baker Street performance, and the food and beer festivals.

“One of the key things our bid will celebrate is the incredible wealth of talent produced by this town, and Gerry Rafferty is one of the best examples of that – so this was a fantastic way to mark the bid submission later this week.”

Gerry’s daughter Martha added: “My father was very proud of his Paisley roots and I am sure he would have been supportive of the town’s UK City of Culture bid.”

The UK Government is expected to announce a shortlist of bidding places over the summer, and the winner by the end of the year.

For more information, visit paisley2021.co.uk