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Paolo Nutini backs Paisley 2021 culture bid at massive event

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Paisley’s musical megastar Paolo Nutini has thrown his weight behind his home town’s bid to be named UK City of Culture 2021.

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The singer today declared his support during a surprise video message broadcast to a delighted crowd of 30,000 at the town’s Christmas Light Switch-on event, which coincided with the first anniversary of the bid launch.

Paolo – who was brought up in Paisley and still has a home there – told the crowd of his pride in the town and why he was backing Paisley’s culture ambitions.

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He said: “I’m backing the bid because Paisley is and always has been my home. I love the town and want to see it grow.

“It’s a town that needs the investment, but it knows what it’s going to do with that investment and I think the potential is really clear.

“I see the romance of the town – when you walk into the centre it’s got a beautiful composition.

“The bid is about building a structure that can tackle the more deep-rooted problems and it’s important we get behind that.

“There’s already a new lease of life being brought into the town…I’m backing the bid so please go on the website, push the button, and do the same.”

The annual Christmas Lights event included a special Paisley-themed projection on to the side of Paisley’s 850-year-old Abbey asking residents to back the bid.

The main stage in the town centre was headlined by triple-platinum-selling popsters Scouting for Girls, who were joined by up-and-coming Paisley bands the Vegan Leather and Dogtooth, as well as kids favourites Funbox.

Other activities during the afternoon-long event include a reindeer parade, outdoor snow slope and funfair.

The event was organised by Renfrewshire Council and the lights were switched on by Provost Anne Hall, joined by young competition winner Phoebe of Williamsburgh Primary.

The bid is being taken forward by a partnership of local organisations, many of whom were showing their support during the day on social media using #WeArePaisley.

Residents and visitors alike were also invited to back the bid by pushing a specially-created button on the paisley2021.co.uk website.

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The Renfrewshire town is bidding for the national title as part of wider plans to use its unique cultural heritage and thriving contemporary creative scene to create long-lasting economic, social and cultural change.

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Renfrewshire Council Leader and chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, said: “Today’s event was all about people of the town having the chance to say We Are Paisley.

“So we are delighted that Paolo – as one of the town’s best-known cultural figures – was able to tell the crowd in his own words why he is backing the bid.

“The Christmas Lights Switch-on always brings tens of thousands of people into the town anyway, and given the anniversary fell on the same weekend there was no better chance for a mass show of support for Paisley 2021.

“The UK City of Culture title goes to a town which can show the UK Government judges that it has a plan to use the title to make a real difference to the area and the people who love there.

“Today we sent a message that not only does Paisley want the title, but it has the capacity to pull off the big events it will involve.”

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Paisley 2021 bid to be marked at Xmas extravaganza

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Paisley is gearing up for a double celebration at the weekend – when the first birthday of the town’s bid for UK City of Culture falls as tens of thousands descend for the annual Christmas lights switch-on.

crowd shot from the 2014 Christmas Lights Switch-on

crowd shot from the 2014 Christmas Lights Switch-on

The Paisley 2021 bid was officially launched a year ago and will be a key feature throughout a day of free-to-attend festive family fun in the town centre, this year headlined by triple-platinum-selling popsters Scouting for Girls.

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The Christmas lights are due to be switched on shortly after 6pm – and this year will be immediately preceded by a spectacular Paisley-themed 3D light show projected on to the Gauze St side of Paisley Abbey.

The not-to-be-missed projections will show off the past year’s activity on the bid, while asking residents and visitors to back Paisley’s ambitions before the bid is lodged next spring.

The Christmas extravaganza gets under way at noon with the annual reindeer parade, featuring Santa himself and sponsored by the Paisley Centre.

The parade will last around an hour and follows a new route, starting and finishing on the High Street and covering St Mirren Street, Orchard Street and Abbey Close.

Capital FM DJs including Des Clarke will then get the party started on the main stage in Gauze Street from 1pm.

That will see shows by kids’ favourites Funbox (1.30pm) and up-and-coming Paisley bands Dogtooth (2.30pm) and the Vegan Leather (4pm) before Scouting for Girls take to the stage at 5.25pm after a special Christmas singalong for the crowd,

Other activities include a snow beach and toboggan slide in Dunn Square, craft market and Accord Hospice tea room in Paisley Town Hall and funfair in County Square.

The cost of the performers is being partly met by sponsors intu Braehead, the Paisley Centre, Invest in Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire Leisure and Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce.

The event is organised by Renfrewshire Council, and council leader Mark Macmillan said: “The Paisley Christmas Lights Switch-on always attracts a massive crowd into the town centre – but the Paisley 2021 element will make this one extra special.

“With that in mind, it is great to see two local acts who are making a name for themselves get to play before thousands on the main stage – the area has a thriving grassroots musical scene and we want to show that off.

“And the Paisley-themed 3D light show on the side of the Abbey will be a perfect way to round off the first year of the bid.

“UK City of Culture tends to go to a place which can show it needs and wants the bid and has clear plan to use the title to transform its fortunes – which Paisley does.

“A mass show of support on Saturday would help show the judges how serious we are, while letting everybody see Paisley knows how to throw a party!”

Residents and visitors should be aware there will be road closures throughout the town centre on Saturday which will impact on bus routes. See www.mcgillsbuses.co.uk for more info.

Parking is free in all council-metered bays and car parks every weekend and there will also be free event parking at West College Scotland, Castlehead High and Paisley Grammar.

More information on the day is available at www.paisley2021.co.uk

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Paisley skyline sees an explosion of colour

photos courtesy of
Anna Koufogianni on behalf of www.paisley.org.uk

Thousands of revellers saw Paisley’s historic skyline bathed in colour as the annual fireworks extravaganza returned on Saturday.

photos courtesy of Anna Koufogianni on behalf of www.paisley.org.uk

photos courtesy of Anna Koufogianni on behalf of www.paisley.org.uk

Almost 30,000 people descended on the town centre for the annual Fireworks Spectacular- hosted by Renfrewshire Council- as part of an afternoon full of family fun and activities.

The magnificent Paisley Abbey provided a stunning backdrop as crowds filled the streets around Abbey Close to get the best view of the outstanding display.

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The fireworks were launched from the roof of the council building on Cotton Street and came at the end of a packed day of entertainment in the town centre.

Hosted by the Captial FM DJs, the stage in Abbey Close featured a variety of local bands including The Turkey Nuts, Start, Kong and The Vanities.

Also putting on a performance were musicians Sam Holloway, Lisa Kowalski, Rachelle and Brittany Davies and Andrew Quinn- while Gerry Lyons kept the crowd entertained with a 60s and 70s DJ set specially mixed and choreographed for the fireworks display.

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During the afternoon, families and kids enjoyed free activities Paisley Town Hall as part of an exciting programme of entertainment.

Paisley Fireworks Spectacular is part of the push towards Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 and is one of many events in an exciting winter events programme, with the Paisley Christmas Lights following on Saturday 12 November- headlined this year by triple-platinum selling band Scouting for Girls.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “It’s fantastic to see so many people coming into Paisley town centre for one of the flagship events of our winter programme.

“We’re working hard to regenerate Paisley and events such as this bring fantastic footfall into the area and give a boost to the local economy.

“The fireworks were once again a magnificent spectacle and topped off a fantastic family-orientated day.”

The fireworks event was sponsored by the Paisley Centre, Intu Braehead, Renfrewshire Leisure and Invest in Renfrewshire.

For more information on future Renfrewshire events, visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events.

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Stay safe and know the risks on Bonfire Night

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Residents are being urged to stay safe this bonfire night and recognise the danger fireworks can pose if handled incorrectly.

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Attending a public display is the safest way to enjoy the celebrations but if people are planning their own fireworks it is important that advice is sought to prevent accidents.

If you are having a private fireworks display, residents are urged to be considerate of their neighbours by informing them in advance so they can be prepared.

Fireworks should be used one at a time and should be pointed in the opposite direction to any spectators. It is also important not to return to a firework once it has been lit, even if it appears to have gone out.

Sparklers may seem harmless but they can get five times hotter than cooking oil and should only be used at arm’s length and with gloves- especially in the vicinity or children.

If a burn occurs then it should be run under cold water for at least 10 minutes to completely cool the skin which will prevent pain, scarring or further damage. Once cooled, cover the burn with cling film or a plastic bag.

It is also important to recognise the distress that fireworks can cause pets during this period and precautions should be put in place to make them as comfortable as possible.

Keeping pets inside at all times, masking the noise of the fireworks with TV or music, and providing a safe place to hide at all times will all help keep pets calm during the

Councillor Tommy Williams, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said: “Safety is paramount when it comes to fireworks so it is important people know how to handle them correctly to prevent injury.

“Attending a public event, such as Paisley’s fireworks display, is the safest way to have an enjoyable night without any risk and we would encourage people to consider this before having their own.

“If you are having a private fireworks display, please make sure you seek health and safety advice in advance so you are prepared for any scenario.”

For more information on fireworks safety visit:  http://www.saferfireworks.com/

Paisley will host a fireworks event in the town centre on Saturday 5 November, with family entertainment from 2pm in the run up to the display which takes place at 7pm.

Find out more about the event via: www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events

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Paisley Rugby Club Annual Firework Display on Saturday 5th Nov from 8pm

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Paisley Rugby Football  Club are having their annual Fireworks display at Anchor once again on Saturday 5th November 2016 from 8pm until 11pm.

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Burgers, Hotdogs, Tea & Coffee will be on sale at an affordable price and Clubhouse bar will be on sale at an affordable price and Clubhouse bar will be open.

Tickets are available from bar or pm for more details:

Tickets: Adults £4, Child (under 16) £2- Family of 4 (2x adults 2x kids) £10

It’s a great night and all monies made go towards re development of the Club.

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Paisley lights the fuse on fireworks spectacular

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The Paisley skyline will be awash with colour this Saturday as the annual fireworks display returns with a bang.

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Thousands will descend on the town centre for a full day of family activities as the winter events programme in Renfrewshire continues.

The excitement kicks-off at 2pm when the Capital FM DJs take to the main stage on Gauze Street to introduce an afternoon of music and live entertainment.

A variety of local bands and artists will showcase their talents including Matthew Gibb, Lisa Kowalski, The Turkey Nuts and The Vanities.

The Paisley and Piazza shopping centres will also play host to free children’s activities throughout the afternoon.

The fireworks will be launched at 7pm from the top of Renfrewshire Council’s headquarters on Cotton Street, with the best views for the public set to be in Abbey Close and Gauze Street.

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Residents should be aware there will be a series of road closures implemented from early on Saturday morning onwards in the area around Gauze Street, Cotton Street and High Street, with parts of Seedhill Road and Causeyside Street to be closed from mid-afternoon on Saturday until after the event.

Mill Street will also be closed temporarily between 6.45pm and 8pm to ensure the safety of the public but with minimal disruption to traffic.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan said: “Every year the fireworks display attracts tens of thousands of people into Paisley as we light up the historic skyline.

“There is always a vibrant atmosphere around the town and I would encourage everyone, from families to visitors, to join in the experience of a major event in the town centre.

“Our winter events programme is just one part of the push towards our bid for UK City of Culture 2021 and demonstrates Paisley’s capability to hold large scale events- a key requirement for the winning bidder.”

The fireworks display follows last weekend’s two day ‘spooktacular’ held in Paisley town centre to celebrate Halloween and precedes the switching on of the Christmas lights in Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew.

The Paisley switch on will be headlined this year on Saturday 12 November by triple-platinum selling artists Scouting for Girls, known for their top 10 singles ‘She’s So Lovely’ and ‘It’s Not About You’.

They will be supported by up-and-coming local bands on the main stage.

Paisley Fireworks Spectacular is sponsored by intu Braehead and the Paisley Shopping Centre.

Full details of this, and future, events are available online at ww.renfrewshire.gov.uk/events

For more information on Paisley’s bid and how you can get behind it, visit www.Paisley2021.co.uk.

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Paisley Halloween Parade 2016 Photographs

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MP raises awareness of children’s fire-risk fancy dress outfits

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Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, attended an awareness event in Parliament on Tuesday to highlight the potential fire risks of children’s fancy dress costumes.

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Currently, the law classes fancy dress costumes as toys rather than clothes meaning that they undergo far less rigorous safety tests. But Sainsbury’s, and other leading supermarkets have introduced more stringent testing following a campaign by the host of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, Claudia Winkleman, whose daughter, eight-year-old Mathilda, was seriously burned wearing a witches’ outfit while trick or treating.

Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said:

“As a father of two young girls, I know that children love dressing up, particularly over the Halloween period and this is why I am so keen to raise awareness of the dangers of open flames and fancy dress.”

“I’m delighted that last year funding was made available for Trading Standards to conduct spot checks on hundreds of retailers to ensure that costumes meet safety standards. I also applaud Sainsbury’s and other supermarkets for introducing more stringent safety checks and would now call on others to follow suit.

“Ultimately, we need to work to close this loophole so that all manufacturers have to comply with much more stringent safety tests and I will lobby to do this. However, with Halloween just around the corner, the key thing now is to spread the message far and wide to parents about these dangers, and I hope that my awareness event will help to do that.”

Colin Bradford, Head of Non-Food Technical and Ethical Practices at Sainsbury’s, said:

“Many retailers are working extremely hard to address this issue. Today’s event was a great opportunity to raise awareness of fire safety at Halloween and share our own approach, which has led to the introduction of a more stringent approach to product development and flammability testing that exceeds all current legal requirements.”

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Paisley gets set for Halloween spooktacular

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

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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.

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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.

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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 www.renfrewshireleisure.com

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  www.paisley2021.com

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Scouting for Girls to headline Paisley festive extravaganza

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Paisley is getting set for a winter festival extravaganza – with triple-platinum-selling popsters Scouting for Girls to headline the town’s annual Christmas lights show.

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The Londoners – known for top-10 hits including This Ain’t a Love Song and She’s So Lovely – will play to a crowd of tens of thousands in the town centre on Saturday 12 November before the big switch-on.

The afternoon-long event will also see main-stage slots for two up-and-coming bands from Paisley – the Vegan Leather and Dogtooth.

The fun will get under way at noon with the traditional reindeer parade around the town, led by Santa himself, with a full programme of children’s entertainment during the day before the lights go on at 6pm.

And the big Christmas date is just one of three installments of family festive fun coming up over consecutive weekends.

The town centre will also host a two-day spooktacular when the Paisley Halloween Festival returns for a third year at the end of the month.

That will see a lantern-lit parade through the town centre on the evening of Friday 28 October, with a day of activities, including a spectacular fire garden, on the Saturday.

And Saturday 5 November will see the town’s annual fireworks display, which will this year feature music from the 1960s and 70s as part of a decade-by-decade countdown to 2021 – the year Paisley hopes to be named UK City of Culture.

There will be live music from bands from local groups Brick Lane Studios and Create Paisley on the main stage in Gauze Street from 2pm, before the fireworks display itself at 7pm.

Scouting for Girls said: “We love Christmas, and what better way to get in the spirit than with the good folks of Paisley!

“We are very excited for the lights switch-on and hope to see as many people as possible there on November 12.”

The three festive events are being run by Renfrewshire Council as part of the area’s ever-expanding major events programme. Sponsorship from local organisations is contributing towards the cost of the performers.

And council leader Mark Macmillan said: “Renfrewshire’s major events programme brings tens of thousands of people into our town centres every year, many of them visitors from outside the area.

“Not only does that show off everything Paisley has to offer but it brings an economic boost to town centre traders too.

“This year’s events are particularly important given they are the last set before the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 is lodged early next year and the Christmas Lights event marks a year since the bid was launched.

“And the bill reflects that – the Christmas Lights show will put the spotlight on two talented young local bands, while the fireworks display will also have a 2021 theme.”

November will be a busy month for major events, with Johnstone’s Christmas lights switch-on due for Saturday 19 November and Renfrew’s a week later.

At the same time, Renfrewshire will also host top-class sporting action when the European Curling Championships comes to Braehead from 19 to 26 November.