Area gets set for Sma’ Shot Day

The countdown is on to one of the biggest events in Renfrewshire’s summer calendar when Sma’ Shot Day takes place on Saturday 6 July.

The popular annual event – one of the oldest workers’ festivals in the world – will run from noon until 5pm in its usual location at Abbey Close.

Tony Lawler with Depute Provost John Caldwell

The fun begins at noon when the parade, headed by the beat of the Charleston Drum, sets off from Brodie Park.

Attractions include funfair rides at Abbey Close and Paisley Cross, a stage hosted by Pulse FM, plus bouncy castle, craft market, a mini-farm and charity stalls.

The day will culminate with the spectacular Burning of the Cork at 5pm.

Elsewhere, older folks can step away from the crowds at a tea dance in Paisley Town Hall at 1pm, with free tickets available from the town hall.

And in keeping with the event’s roots as a celebration of the local textile workers’ victory over the 19th-century mill owners, Central Library will be hosting a display and film of the life of celebrated Paisley-born trade unionist Willie Gallacher.

Renfrewshire’s Depute Provost John Caldwell said: “Sma’ Shot Day is great tradition which celebrates an important episode in the town’s history.

“It is always a popular day for families, with plenty to entertain grown-ups and families alike, and I would encourage locals to get themselves along.”

Meanwhile, the man charged with drumming up a following for the event is hoping to stay injury-free this year.

Paisley man Tony Lawler is preparing for his 21st year beating the drum at the head of the parade.

He was at the centre of a brief drama last year when his enthusiastic drumming left him with a badly-cut hand – promptly bandaged by Provost Anne Hall, an ex-nurse.

Tony said: “I’m sure it will be great day, although I hope to avoid any injury this year!

“This will be the first Sma’ Shot Day I have done since being made a Freeman of Renfrewshire earlier this year, which means a lot to me.”

Sma Shot Day celebrates the victory of Paisley’s weavers over the town’s mill owners in the 19th century.

The owners refused to pay their staff for the Sma’ (small) Shot thread which was unseen but held together the famous Paisley-patterned cashmere shawls.

A long fight and political battle ensued which the weavers eventually won and renamed the traditional July holiday Sma Shot Day.

Residents are reminded that parking is free in all council-metered bays on Saturdays and Sundays.