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