Hundreds of people turned out this weekend for Johnstone’s Christmas Lights switch on.

The event in Houston Square saw celebrity designer John Amabile join Renfrewshire’s Provost Celia Lawson and twins Abbie and Blaire Monkman, from Houston, to officially light up the town for the festive season.

Gryffe High pupils Abbie and Blair, 11, switched on the lights in memory of their mother Debbie who passed away recently at St Vincent’s Hospice.

The event was organised by Renfrewshire Council in partnership with St Vincent’s, a charity which John is patron of.

Entertainment was provided by Clyde One’s Gina McKie and Kevin Cameron with lucky locals winning tickets to see Peter Andre, Pixie Lott and Mamma Mia.

There were performances by 22-year-old pop act GeO, who has supported many acts including Westlife, Alesha Dixon and Peter Andre, and Renfrewshire’s own Jamie McArthur. Local groups Dans-scene and Per4mance Stage School also took to the stage.
There was a snow beach provided by SnoZone at Braehead, a St Vincent’s Hospice Christmas Cafe and Santa’s Grotto within a marquee in Houston Square.
Provost Lawson said: “Johnstone switch on was a fantastic day and definitely the best turn out we’ve had in recent years. There was a real family atmosphere and great to see performances from such talented local youngsters.”

Celebrity designer John Amabile will make a big switch from interior to outdoor decorations when he helps turn on Johnstone’s Christmas lights this weekend.
John, well known from TV shows such as 60 Minute Makeover, GMTV and This Morning, will join Renfrewshire’s Provost Celia Lawson and 11-year-old twins Abbie and Blair Monkman to turn on the lights on Saturday 27 November.
The event is being organised by Renfrewshire Council in partnership with St Vincent’s Hospice, a charity which John is patron of.
John said: “I’m so looking forward to the Johnstone switch on to Christmas and delighted to support St. Vincent hospice – a local charity much in need of our support!”

The day kicks off at 12.30pm with Clyde One Roadshow, hosted by Gina McKie and Kevin Cameron, including game, goodie bags and giveaways such as tickets to see Peter Andre and Pixie Lott. Tickets to see Mamma Mia at the Clyde Auditorium will also be up for grabs.
There will be performances by 22-year-old pop act GeO who has supported many acts including Westlife, Alesha Dixon and Peter Andre.
Local boy Jamie McArthur, who recently raised money for Cash For Kids by performing outside Braehead Shopping Centre for eight hours solid, will also be taking to the stage as well as local groups Dans-scene and Per4mance Stage School.
There will also be a snow beach provided by SnoZone at Braehead, a St Vincent’s Hospice Christmas Cafe and Santa’s Grotto within a marquee in Houston Square.
Abbie and Blair will switch on the lights in tribute to their mother Debbie, 49, who passed away recently while in the care of St Vincent’s Hospice.
Abbie and Blair said: “We’re really, really looking forward to switching on the Christmas lights in Johnstone in memory of our mum.”
Renfrewshire’s Provost Celia Lawson said: “I’m delighted to have John, Abbie and Blair joining me for Johnstone’s Christmas Lights switch on. St Vincent’s is a wonderful and deserving charity.
“Johnstone Christmas Lights switch is getting bigger and beeter and the day promises to be great fun with lots of entertainment, games, giveaways, snow and even Santa himself. I’m really looking forward to it and hope to see lots of people out in Houston Square on the day.”
Kibble will also be selling real Christmas trees on the day, with a donation going to St Vincent’s Hospice.

We wish to welcome new partners to PACE Theatre Company.

About PACE Theatre Company


PACE Theatre Company was formed by David Wallace in 1988 who shortly afterwards founded PACE Youth Theatre. Since then PACE has moved to the forefront of Theatre in Education in Scotland, while PACE Youth Theatre has grown to become the largest youth theatre of its kind in the UK with a current membership of over 2000 and over 200 young people awaiting places at any given time. PACE started began with just one employee and now employees over 100 people each year including 18 full time and 4 part time staff, as well as numerous contract staff including actors and drama workers and stage personnel. The rise has been phenomenal and the company and the youth theatre are the envy of many towns and cities.

The company though evolved to such a degree that its needs far exceeded that graciously provided within Paisley Arts Centre. In 1992 the company became independent of the local authority, as a non-profit making company and registered charity. It also began to attract commercial contracts in the shape of commissioned productions for corporate and local authority or education clients, commissions to produce educational videos,. It became clear that an advanced level of independence was required and in 1997 the decision was made that the demand on the company’s services required it to expand, not only to enable it to increase the amount of projects undertaken but also to find space to rehearse, perform and undertake workshops.  In 2000 PACE collaborated with the renovation of The Wynd Centre in Paisley to manage and become the main-end user of and auditorium and youth theatre workshop space in the newly refurbished church.   PACE also makes this facility available to the community to hire for professional and amateur productions, events and conferences.

In 2002, committed to its aim of providing the benefits of youth theatre to as many young people as possible, PACE opened a new youth theatre base in Ayr, based in the Gaiety Theatre and Citadel Leisure Centre.  It is hoped that eventually this base can be as successful as its ground breaking model in Paisley.

Then, In August 2003 PACE secured a second building in School Wynd which was converted into what is now known as “Spires Drama Studios” comprising of 3 dedicated drama workshop studios, a café area and numerous offices.  This has become the organisation’s main base and administrative hub.


The basic ethos of PACE is to provide a service to all of the community, using theatre, in its broadest terms, to educate and entertain.

i)      EDUCATE: To enable the user to gain personal and social skills, communication, confidence and self awareness amongst others, and to stimulate through active and passive participation an interest in the Arts and therefore create and enhance the audiences of tomorrow as well as allowing young people and others to examine and explore contemporary issues.

ii)    ENTERTAIN: To stimulate the user to think in broader terms out with their own environment about issues and concerns they and others will have and to enable them to see quality touring children’s shows, T.I.E., and participatory theatre shows and to stretch the creative and cultural horizons of young people who hitherto had little or no experience of live theatre, participatory drama and interactive workshops.

PACE Youth Theatre

PACE Youth Theatre has become the largest, most successful youth theatre in the UK, with over 2000 young people aged 3-18 attending weekly workshops in drama, music and dance, with an aim to increase confidence, communication skills and self expression as well as teach performance skills, since 1988.  Ex-members of PACE Youth Theatre have included actor James McAvoy (Shameless, Last King of Scotland), singer Paulo Nutini, actor Gordon McCorkell (River City), actress Shauna McDonald (Spooks, The Descent),  Fame Academy winner David Sneddon, TV presenter Kate Heavenor, as well as many other lesser known actors and actresses currently working in theatre, TV and film, and thousands of others who have used the confidence and communications skills learned at PACE in successful careers in other industries.

Workshops are run by fully trained full time staff, under the guidance of the Artistic Director, Director & Deputy Director of Drama, and our senior drama workers.

Members also receive additional benefits such free casting agency representation for TV & Film work and discounts for ‘Fest!’ events.


Fest! is PACE’s hugely popular school holiday performing arts festivals for young people aged 3-18 and are open to PACE members and non members.  Fest events generally involve a cast of young people coming together for one week to devise and rehearse a new production based on a fun theme.  The are designed to challenging as well as great fun and are a great way for young people to make friends and spend their school holiday time.  There are over 3,000 fest participants each year, performing in over 60 different performances.

Theatre in Education

TIE and peer education has been at the centre of PACE’s work since it’s inception in 1988.  Our unique Participatory Performance Projects have toured thousands of schools, allowing primary school pupils to perform to their peers on issues such as bullying, drug awareness, healthy living, sectarianism and other topical subjects which complement the current curriculum.  The combination of original music, peer education and a day of rehearsals that’s great fun, has proved immensely popular with primary schools.  PACE have also been commissioned by clients such as Scotland Against Drugs, Drinkwise, Strathclyde Police and Fire Brigade, various local authorities and many others.  Many of these projects have involved performances to school children of various ages by professional actors, along with participatory follow up workshops.  The company has used theatre as a means of educating and training adults with commissioned plays for clients such as the NHS, STUC and Scottish Executive, at venues from the Borders to the Shetland Isles.  Finally, the company has provided the principal theatrical input to Strathclyde Police’s annual Choices for Life event, performing to over 50,000 P7 pupils every year through Scotland, at venues such as the SECC and AECC.

PACE also undertakes hundreds of community workshops each year in school, libraries and other venues, including drama workshops for those with disabilities.

PACE Theatre Company

PACE is also renowned for producing spectacular theatrical productions as entertainment.  It has produced the professional pantomime at Paisley Arts Centre since 1988, performing to over 10,000 people every year with over 99% of available tickets sold every year.

It has also produced many other professional theatre productions that have toured venues throughout Scotland, plus many large scale shows for events such as Renfrew 600, and Barrhead 100, with casts of over 1000 people.

PACE Media Productions

PACE Media Productions was formed to provide a different medium for the dramatic work produced by PACE Theatre Company.  It has produced educational dramas for clients such as Drinkwise, Scotland Against Drugs, Scottish Executive, NHS 24, West Dumbartonshire Council, and many others.


PACE Casting is the casting agency set up by PACE to represent its youth theatre members in TV, film and advertising productions.  It provides licensing and chaperoning services to production companies as well as audition facilities, and also produces an annual casting directory book, with over 1,000 professional photos and CV details, distributed to all major UK production companies.  All this is provided to our youth theatre members for no additional charge our agency fee. This has resulted in it being one of the largest suppliers of young actors to the TV and film industries in Scotland, with our members appearing in productions such as Still Game, River City, Rob Roy, Small Faces, Taggart, Young Adam, and commercials for BT, The Herald, Ikea, RBS, Scottish Executive, AOL and Hovis.

To find out more about PACE Theatre Company
click or call 0845 130 5218

Record numbers of people flocked to Paisley this weekend for the town’s spectacular Christmas Lights switch on event.

An estimated crowd of 28,000 came into Paisley’s historic town centre for the packed day long event which kicked off in the morning with a farmers market and craft fayre, followed by Reindeer Parade, and performances by the Singing Kettle, Red Hot Chilli Pipers and headline act Olly Murs.

There was also a SnoZone, fun fair and Radio Clyde Roadshow hosted by Gina McKie.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Derek Mackay, who also chairs Paisley Vision Board, said: “This was our biggest event yet and the numbers speak for themselves. The fact that the people of Renfrewshire and beyond yet again flocked to the town for this fantastic event shows that our plans to regenerate the town are on track. Along with the spectacular fireworks display, which also attracted a crowd of 25,000, these events are breathing new life into Paisley town centre.

“The response has been fantastic, from young people and families coming to see performers, and from the business community who have this year given their resounding support for the event. For the first time, this year’s event attracted private sponsorship from local firms KDS Group and Bam Construction.”

Paisley’s Christmas lights switch-on is one of the key events in the council’s strategy to regenerate Paisley town centre and has grown from strength to strength each year.

As part of the council’s recent Difficult Choices for Difficult Times consultation with local residents and businesses, local people were asked if they wanted events such as these to continue. 63% of respondents favoured continued backing of town centre events because of their importance in supporting the regeneration of Paisley and other towns.

Maureen Hill, Piazza Shopping Centre Manager, commented:

“The whole day was a great success: it was fantastic to see the town buzzing with so many people, and I’ve had some excellent feedback from our retailers on how busy they were on the day.

“These kind of big events are really important for Paisley to raise the profile and awareness of what the town centre has to offer, particularly in the run up to the festive season when they really attract people into the town centre. At The Piazzza, we’re always delighted to have the opportunity to show shoppers that with a great range of high street names under one roof, right here in Paisley, they don’t need to look any further to complete their Christmas shopping.”

Shonaid Kaye, of Paisley Farmers’ Market said: “These events are great not just for the bigger retailers in the town but because they provide an opportunity for smaller local producers to sell their products to a much wider audience. All of our stallholders recorded much higher sales on the day. This also has a knock on effect as it attracts people who may not know about the regular farmers market and encourages them to come back in future.”

Graham Laurie Accordion orchestra, with special guests Ian MacPhail and friends and Alastair Mcdonald

Call 01505 343 980

should be a brilliant night, book early to avoid dissapointment.

Here are some pictures from yesterday, picture of Olly Murs taken by westender for and the santas parade taken by John McIntyre.

If you have any pictures please send them into and include who took them..

Thousands of people from across Renfrewshire turned out to see Paisley Town Centre light up with a spectacular musical themed fireworks display.

The town centre was packed as the 18 minute long fireworks display lit up the sky over Paisley Abbey to the tunes of Abba, Grease, Queen and Les Miserables among others.

There was also live entertainment with a Clyde One roadshow hosted by Gina McKie, plus a performance by Paolo Nutini tribute act Paolo Martini and a fabulous fun fair.

Crowds packed into the prime viewing areas at Gauze Street, Forbes Place and County Square as well as spreading further back to fill Seedhill Park. People as far away as Bridge of Weir could see the display.

The free event, organised by Renfrewshire Council and Paisley Vision Board, was sponsored by the Piazza, KDS Group and Bam Construction.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Derek Mackay, who also chairs Paisley Vision Board, said: “Yet again the people of Renfrewshire have turned out to make this another hugely successful Paisley event. Over the past couple of years the town’s has developed a reputation for hosting great events and the fireworks is becoming one of the most popular occasions.

“Last year was the first time we held the fireworks in the town centre, encouraging everyone from across Renfrewshire to come into the town for the fireworks. It was a massive success and I’m delighted that that success has continued this year. It was a fantastic display and a great family atmosphere.

“I’m delighted that so many people turned out to support the event, and would like to thank our sponsors all those who worked hard to make the fireworks such a success.”


The Great British High Street

For those who seen the post yesterday on to watch the BBC Programme on the Great British High Street shall be pleased to know that the BBC shall be doing the same here in Paisley with a 1930’s Grocers shop.

The event shall be filmed at the pop up shop Paisley which shall be located within the Paisley Centre between 10am and 5pm 25th – 27th of this month more info at


Special parking and prime viewing sites have been set up for people coming into Paisley for this year’s fantastic fireworks display Nov 4th 2010.

Residents from across Renfrewshire are being encouraged to come into Paisley for the spectacular free event and to make things easier specific free parking areas and viewing areas have been designated.

The key parking areas are at:
– Reid Kerr College
– Paisley Grammar School
– University of the West of Scotland
– The Paisley Centre car park

There is also free parking at the Piazza and council carparks excluding Cotton Street and the Council HQ car park.

Prime viewing areas for the fireworks display, which will each be linked up to the live PA to the Clyde 1 Roadshow are at:
– Gauze Street, at Cotton Street
– Forbes Place, at Dunn Square
– High Street at the Cenotaph

Councillor Marie McGurk, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Policy Board, said: “This is going to be our biggest and best fireworks display yet and we want to make sure as many people as possible can safely enjoy the event.

“Through our sponsors we have agreed hundreds of free parking spaces all round the town centre to make it easier for those coming in from other areas. It’s going to be a busy evening and we’d urge people to go to one of these suggested car parks.

“The prime viewing locations will give everyone the chance to see the fireworks and hear the live PA from the Clyde 1 stage at Gauze Street.

“Fireworks night is a great family occasion and we want everyone to enjoy themselves and be safe so are encouraging people to come to the council’s official fireworks display.”

The event, on Friday 5 November, starts at 6pm with the Fireworks from 7.30pm.

This year’s display has a ‘Songs from Famous Musicals’ theme, including Abba, Grease, Queen, Les Miserables and many more.

There will also be live entertainment from tribute act Paulo Martini and a fabulous fun fair.

The event, organised by Renfrewshire Council and Paisley Vision, is free and is sponsored by The Piazza, KDS Group, Bam Construction, Reid Kerr College, University of the West of Scotland and the Paisley Centre.

Budding young footballers in Renfrewshire are getting a helping hand thanks to contractors working on a £138million council housing improvement plan.

As part of Renfrewshire Council’s five year Delivering Housing Improvements programme, contractors working with the council have also committed to supporting local communities wherever possible, from taking on local trainees to sponsoring local youth football.

One of the contractors, Wates Living Space, have committed to a five year sponsorship deal with St Mirren Boys’ Club. The money will allow the team to buy new strips and training equipment.

Ronnie Bennett, Business Unit Director, Wates Living Space went along, with Councillor Brian Lawson, Renfrewshire Council’s housing spokesperson, to meet the team at one of their training sessions.

Ronnie Bennett said: “We are delighted to be able to support the local football team with their new kit and we wish them every success. We are committed to supporting local communities in the areas we work and the football team is an excellent example of this.”
Councillor Brian Lawson said: “As well as improving quality of life for our tenants the council and our contractors on the Delivering Housing Improvements programme are committed to providing benefits to the wider community throughout this five year programme.

“Community clubs like this are great for young people, both socially and in terms of health and community spirit, so I am really pleased that they are being supported through this project.

“As well as contractors supporting local clubs they have also taken on local employees and apprentices and are using local firms as suppliers wherever possible for the work being carried out.”

For more information about the Scottish Housing Quality Standard or the Delivering Housing Improvements programme, please visit or contact the Housing Investment Team on 01505 384 303.