Halloween

Renfrewshire Council has today announced that all large-scale Council-run events will be cancelled until the end of October in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision means that the following events will no longer take place: Renfrew Gala Day; Barshaw Gala Day; Johnstone Fire Engine Rally; Renfrewshire Doors Open Days; The Spree festival; and Paisley Halloween Festival.

Halloween

Paisley’s annual Sma’ Shot Day celebrations will be marked this year – but in a different way. A programme of online events will take place on Saturday 4 July to commemorate the historic victory of local weavers, as well as the invaluable contribution of today’s key workers across Renfrewshire.

All Council-run events after October will continue to be reviewed in line with national guidance from the Scottish Government and public health advice, with a further decision on the staging of Paisley Fireworks Spectacular and the Paisley, Johnstone and Renfrew Christmas lights switch-on events expected by June 30.

The Council announced in March that its spring/summer events programme, including the Paisley Food and Drink Festival and the British Pipe Band Championships in Paisley, had been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We are hugely disappointed to have to announce this news today but, given the ongoing public health and government advice, it’s the safe and prudent action to take.

“Since we announced the cancellation of our spring/summer programme, festivals and events in the UK and further afield scheduled up until October have continued to be cancelled. The current advice on mass gatherings and events is expected to be in place for some months to come, along with significant physical distancing restrictions.

“Our events programme is regarded among the highlights in Renfrewshire’s annual calendar – and we’re rightly proud of the economic and social impact it brings for our communities. As with many of our Council services, and sectors of our local economy, we want to be in a position to restart and support recovery as soon as possible – but only when the public health advice recommends it is safe to do so.

“Despite the cancellation of our large-scale events until the end of October, we will still celebrate Paisley’s annual Sma’ Shot Day – but in a different way. The online programme of events will allow us to honour the historic victory of local weavers and thank the key workers in Renfrewshire today, who are doing a fantastic job on the frontline to support us all during this unprecedented time.”

Renfrewshire Council is continuing to plan its major events programme in Renfrewshire for next year, whilst monitoring the latest government and public health advice.

The Council advises everyone to continue to follow the national guidance on coronavirus set out by the Scottish Government and to consult www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus for up to date medical advice.

For the latest local updates, visit our ‘Information, help and guidance on Coronavirus’ webpage here: http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

Paisley Halloween Festival has been named Best Cultural Event or Festival at the Scottish Thistle Awards 2019/2020 National Final.

Organised by VisitScotland, the prestigious awards celebrate innovation, excellence and success in the Scottish tourism sector.

Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

The popular event in Renfrewshire Council’s annual calendar picked up the National Award for its 2018 festival, which saw crowds of over 34,000 people flock to the town across two days to enjoy a bumper programme of spectacular aerial performances, thrilling live acts and a Mardi-Gras style parade with more than 500 costumed performers.

Inspired by the town’s dark and deathly 17th century witch history, the enhanced theme of ‘Something Wicked this Way Comes’ thrilled visitors from all over Scotland.

Judges were impressed with the seasonality of the event and the growth that it has seen in recent years. They also praised event organisers for their engagement with young people and the community.

Paisley Halloween Festival (002)

Picture Copyright Chris Watt
Tel – 07887 554 193
info@chriswatt.com
www.chriswatt.com
Twitter: @chriswattphoto
Instagram: chriswattphotography

The festival was a highlight of VisitScotland’s Year of Young People 2018 celebrations, with young people at the heart of the festival’s development and delivery.

A 20-strong Youth Panel worked alongside Renfrewshire Council’s Events Team to design and deliver the programme, while more than 500 young people took part in a new creative learning programme. This provided young people with the opportunity to participate in all aspects of festival from performance to live event management and technical production.

 

Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

The Scottish Thistle Awards is based on five regional programmes with the winners of each progressing to the National Final.

Paisley Halloween Festival was among 15 winners in the regional finals for the West in November – which included businesses and individuals from Greater Glasgow & The Clyde Valley, Ayrshire & Arran, Dumfries & Galloway and Argyll & Bute.

The National Final took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre last night (5 March), and saw 18 individuals, businesses and events honoured for their contribution to the tourism sector.

Louisa Mahon, Renfrewshire Council’s Head of Communications, Marketing and Events, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Paisley Halloween Festival has won Best Festival in Scotland at the Scottish Thistle Awards. We were in a category with some of Scotland’s most amazing cultural events and are delighted to be keeping company with them. Well done to everyone.

Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

Paisley Halloween Parade 2018 and flying witches

“Paisley Halloween is one of the most highly anticipated events in our calendar – and is now regarded as one of the biggest and best of its kind in the UK.

“Winning this award continues to put Paisley on the map as a great place to visit and experience world class cultural events – and we look forward to continuing to welcome even more people to Paisley to enjoy.”

VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director Gordon Smith, said: “Congratulations to everyone at Renfrewshire Council on winning the national Scottish Thistle Award for Best Cultural Event or Festival. This is a fantastic achievement for Paisley Halloween Festival which has become one of the most anticipated events in the region’s calendars which has gone from strength to strength in recent years.

“The Scottish Thistle Awards give businesses and individuals working within tourism in Scotland the opportunity to earn the recognition and appreciation they deserve from their own industry peers.

“The impact of tourism goes far beyond the holiday experience. It is vital to the Scottish economy, reaching every corner of the country, creating jobs and bringing economic and social change.”

The Scottish Thistle Award marks another celebration for the Paisley Halloween Festival after it won Best Festival or Outdoor Event at the EventIt E Awards in June 2019.

The Paisley Halloween Festival is organised by Renfrewshire Council and the 2018 event was supported by the Year of Young People 2018 event fund managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

To find out more about the Paisley Halloween Festival, visit: https://paisley.is/featured_event/halloween/

For more information on the Scottish Thistle Awards, visit: https://www.scottishthistleawards.co.uk/

JOHN BYRNE

Legendary artist and playwright John Byrne is in line to receive his hometown’s highest honour – the Freedom of Renfrewshire.

Provost Lorraine Cameron has submitted a motion, which will be considered at this week’s council meeting, to give the award to one of Paisley’s favourite sons in recognition of his contribution to the area.

JOHN BYRNE

Playwright John Byrne revists Paisley Town Hall to back Paisleys 2012 bid for City of Culture.
Mark F Gibson / Gibson Digital
infogibsondigital@gmail.co.uk
www.gibsondigital.co.uk
All images © Gibson Digital 2016. Free first use only for editorial in connection with the commissioning client’s press-released story. All other rights are reserved. Use in any other context is expressly prohibited without prior permission.

The Freedom of Renfrewshire is an honorary title and is the highest civic honour that can be bestowed upon an individual or group. It has only been awarded five times previously.

John Byrne was born in Ferguslie Park in Paisley in 1940 and is best known for writing The Slab Boys Trilogy – a set of plays telling the story of young-working class Scots in Paisley and inspired by his own experiences working in Stoddard’s Carpet Factory in Elderslie.

Alongside being an accomplished writer of stage and screen, John Byrne is known for his distinctive painting style and continues to paint and exhibit new work regularly.

John returned to Paisley on Saturday 22 February to celebrate his 80th year as part of the inaugural Paisley Book Festival. The sold-out event in Paisley Arts Centre featured readings from his plays and live music.

He will also bring his new musical play, Underwood Lane, to Paisley Arts Centre from 25-28 June for its world premiere, in partnership with Renfrewshire Leisure and Tron Theatre. The play tells the tale of a young skiffle band trying to make it and is written in memory of John’s Paisley buddy, Gerry Rafferty, who was born and brought up on the street.

Underwood Lane is the last event to be held at Paisley Arts Centre before it closes for refurbishment and is supported by Future Paisley –  a programme of economic, social and physical regeneration building on the work already done to use Paisley’s internationally-significant culture and heritage story to change its future.

Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “John is a celebrated playwriter, painter, printmaker and theatre designer and has put Paisley on the map. He continues to be committed to our local community and is treasured by citizens of Ferguslie Park, past and present, as well as the wider Renfrewshire community and its civic leaders. I’m delighted to offer him this honour and thank him for the contribution he has made to Renfrewshire.”

Opposition party leader, Councillor Eddie Devine, who seconded the motion said: “I’m delighted to second Provost Cameron’s motion to award the Freedom of Renfrewshire to John Byrne, in recognition of his achievements and commitment to Renfrewshire. Throughout his successful career he has never forgotten his roots.”

If approved, the Freedom of Renfrewshire will officially be awarded to John Byrne later this year. Find out more about the Freedom of Renfrewshire at  http://www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/freedomofrenfrewshire

Photo Booth London

1 paisley centre entrance

A first-of-its kind study with radical ideas for how Paisley town centre could look in a decade has been published – and aims to start a conversation about what might be possible in the town.

The ‘Vision for Paisley Town Centre 2030’ is the result of a unique link-up between Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Government and Scotland’s Town Partnership – and uses Paisley as a test case for a series of bold ideas imagining how empty retail space could be better used

1 paisley centre entrance

Aileen Campbell, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, will officially unveil the report at an event in the town centre today.

The study – produced by Glasgow-based Threesixty Architecture – is based on the idea changes to the way people shop have left towns like Paisley with far more retail space than they need

The authors lay out a series of radical ideas for how the town could be rebalanced to better meet community need – bringing with it new life and footfall. Their suggestions include:

1 paisley centre entrance

– introducing hundreds of new town centre residents, including repurposing the Paisley Centre shopping centre into a new residential quarter with ground-floor retail;

– new ‘attractors’ such as a High Street cinema, or European-style food hall housing independent food and drink businesses;

– bolstering remaining retail by concentrating it back on to the High Street and street-fronts;

– new public spaces for outdoor activity, and new lanes and streets creating new views and routes to ‘hidden’ parts of the town centre

1 paisley centre entrance

– how key vacant historic buildings such as the Liberal Club, YMCA building and TA Building could be brought back into use;

– other ideas such as shared office spaces or makers’ spaces, a new hotel, and relocating parts of university and college campuses into the heart of the town centre;

Cabinet Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “This study represents another significant milestone in the regeneration of Paisley and is further evidence of the ambition and commitment of the local community and partners.

3 new Liberal Club (1)

“A huge opportunity now exists to use this collaborative vision to create more positive change in the town, as well as sharing learning which can benefit other town centres and communities across Scotland.

“The Scottish Government will continue to work in partnership with local government to support the regeneration of our towns and high streets.”

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “The way people shop has changed forever, and towns everywhere are seeing the same issues with empty retail space.

“We can’t turn the clock back but we can consider how we could change to attract new life and footfall in future – and that’s what Paisley is doing.

“It’s important to stress these are not concrete plans – they are a set of ideas designed to spark a conversation about what might be possible over the next decade.

6 YMCA cinema (1)

“Paisley town centre is already changing for the better – the number of new cafes and restaurants and new housing built in recent years shows it is recognised as a good place to live and invest.

“Current and future council investment will make Paisley even more attractive to the private sector, but change of the scale imagined by the Vision could not be achieved by the council alone – so we want to hear from developers who could make that next stage of the journey happen.”

The contents of the report build on work already happening to use Paisley’s unique cultural and heritage story to transform its future through the Future Paisley programme, which aims to build on the momentum created by the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

That includes a £100m investment in the town’s venues and outdoor spaces, including turning Paisley Museum into a world-class destination for the town’s internationally-significant collections, which last week saw £3.8m of funding confirmed from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Paisley is already finding new uses for vacant High Street spaces – construction will start soon to bring a formerly-empty retail unit back into use as a new learning and cultural hub housing library services, for which the first images have just been revealed.

That will build on the success of Paisley: The Secret Collection – the UK’s first publicly-accessible High Street museum store, which opened in 2017 – showing Paisley’s ambitions to put culture at the heart of its future high street are already being realised.

The Paisley Vision was produced after gathering feedback from key local partners – including community groups, businesses, educational establishments and private developers.

The idea for a High Street cinema is already being taken forward by a local group – the Paisley Community Trust – who, with support from the council, are developing their own plans to convert an existing building for that purpose.

Gary Kerr, chair of the Paisley Community Trust, said: ““It’s exciting to see such a transformational and radical vision for Paisley’s future revealed. Paisley Community Trust fully back this new vision for Paisley and we congratulate Threesixty Architecture on producing a superb piece of work.

“It’s particularly encouraging to see cinema at the forefront of the vision. This completely aligns with our current plans to bring cinema back to the heart of our town.

“We believe a cinema by and for our community is a vital first step in realising the wider vision for regeneration in the town centre. It’s Project One if you like.

“We’ve been working behind the scenes on it for a while now and will reveal more details very soon. We also look forward to seeing the other concepts from the vision being explored and developed into regeneration projects of their own in the years ahead.”

Colette Cardosi, chair of town centre business improvement district Paisley First, added: “In recent years, Paisley has found itself firmly back on the map with fantastic events for visitors and a growing number of independent businesses.

“However, like many towns throughout the country, we need to continuously adapt and evolve and Paisley First welcomes collaboration on any long-term strategy for the future which can help bring in new investment and new footfall to local businesses in Paisley town centre.”

Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, added: “Paisley has a rich tapestry of heritage and culture, is steeped in industry and tradition, and has many major assets.

“We hope this exciting blueprint can create a high street fit for 21st century citizens and Paisley can become an exemplar for other large towns across Scotland.”

Alan Anthony, managing director of Threesixty Architecture, who authored the Vision, said: “This study shows a people-first approach that reconnects the whole community to their town centre.

“We have an unprecedented opportunity to rebalance our High Street back to a place with a rich mix of uses. As a lifelong Paisley Buddy, it’s exciting to think Paisley could lead the way on town centre regeneration in Scotland.”

The council now hopes to hear from developers who are interested in investing in Paisley – with one firm which has already done so believing a template for success already exists.

Brian Clark, managing director of Park Lane Developments, said: “We believe  Park Lane’s partnership with Renfrewshire Council on the regeneration of the former Arnotts department store has already shown the way for how the public and private sector can work together to transform a town centre site.

“That project has already delivered 67 completed private and social rented housing along with the welcome addition of the Pendulum restaurant. The final phase is just about to go for planning and will bring an additional 70  new homes.

“The site was derelict for 10 years and is now back in beneficial use bringing new residents and activity back into the town centre – and shows the potential that exists in Paisley as a place to live and invest.”

Residents and businesses have the chance to see and give their views on the Paisley Vision plans for themselves at a public exhibition open in POP (the former Post Office) in the town’s Piazza shopping centre – on Friday 24 (1 to 4.30pm), Saturday 25 (9.30am to 4.30pm) and Monday 27 January (9.30am to 3pm).

The full report can also be viewed online at www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/paisleyvision, along with a Q&A which goes into more details on the ideas it contains and what happens next.

SOBS Memorial tree

Renfrewshire’s annual memorial service to commemorate those who have lost their lives to suicide will be held in Paisley later this month.

A short service will take place on Thursday 23 January at Renfrewshire House, hosted by support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS).

SOBS Memorial tree

SOBS Memorial tree 25.1.18

The service is open to all and anyone who has been affected by suicide is invited to meet in the Marriage Suite from 3:10pm to collect a commemorative purple heart on which they can write a message to a loved one, if desired.

At 3:30pm there will be a short set of readings followed by a procession to the memorial tree where Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron will light the tree.

After the service, all those in attendance are invited to join the Provost, the local SOBS support group and the Choose Life team for light refreshments in Paisley Abbey.

The memorial tree was first dedicated in 2010 as a permanent memorial to those who have died through suicide and is believed to have been the first of its kind in Scotland.

SOBS Memorial tree

SOBS Memorial tree 25.1.18

The service aims to provide an opportunity to remember those who have been lost while providing an arm of support to the survivors. It is an opportunity to connect with others who have faced similar situations.

Provost Cameron, who helped establish the tree, said: “Over the past ten years this service has become extremely important to members of the local community and I’m honoured to be involved.

“Suicide is still very much a taboo subject, but the Choose Life and SOBS team will be available after the service to provide any support you, or a friend or family member, may need, and I would encourage anyone who has been affected by suicide in any manner to come along.

“If you’re unable to make it along, please get in touch with the team to talk about how you are feeling or what support you need. Someone is always there to listen.”

Anyone unable to attend the service who wishes a message to be placed onto the tree can get in touch in advance or can visit the council reception at any time following the service to collect a commemorative heart.

If you are feeling suicidal, or you know someone that might be then please call one of the helpline numbers: Samaritan’s 116 123, Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87, RAMH First Crisis 0141 849 90 90 or 0500 829 093

For more information contact the Choose Life Team on 0141 849 2200 or visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/sobs.

Paisley Halloween Festival

Paisley’s popular Halloween and Spree 2019 festivals delivered a £1.2million economic boost to Renfrewshire.

That’s according to the findings of independent assessments into the two October events, which also showed record numbers of people attended the festivals in 2019.

Paisley Halloween Festival

One of the largest events of its kind in the UK, the Dark Circus themed Paisley Halloween Festival attracted 41,000 people across the two-days – up 17% on 2018. The event was delivered alongside internationally-acclaimed outdoor theatre specialists, Cirque Bijou.

More than 350 costumed performers and community groups took part in the Mardi Gras style parade, the centrepiece of the festival, which wound its way through the town centre. The parade also featured fantastic, giant lion and elephant floats, ferocious fire performers, creepy clowns and curious creatures, to delight the gathered crowds.

Gerry Rafferty Song Book

Twenty six percent of attendees to the Halloween festival were from outside Renfrewshire demonstrating the popularity and stellar programme of the free, family-friendly activities on offer.

The Paisley Halloween Festival was awarded £16,950 of National Programme funding from EventScotland for the 2019 event.

Brickz4kids

The festival delivered £824,250 to the local economy with local businesses benefiting from the high number of visitors in the town that weekend.

Paisley Halloween Festival scooped the Best Cultural Event or Festival at the 2019/20 Scottish Thistle Awards West Scotland regional finals and will now go on to compete in the prestigious national final on March 5, 2020.

Glasvagas

The Spree also delivered impressive results for the area. More than 12,000 festival-goers turned out to enjoy the diverse range of acts in the stunning Salon Perdu Spiegeltent in Paisley’s County Square – allowing for more people to enjoy the performances.

The numbers also add up, with a £411,000 total economic boost from the 10-day music, arts and cultural festival.

Paisley Halloween Festival

The Spree 2019 saw record ticket sales with music and comedy fans being treated to sell-out shows from Hue and Cry, Glasvegas, The Snuts, Jerry Sadowitz and spectacular performances from Soul legend PP Arnold, Hayseed Dixie, Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys, Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook and two Friday comedy nights compered by Fred MacAulay and Scott Gibson.

The festival was programmed by Regular Music and sponsored by Tennent’s Lager.

There was also a packed Wee Spree programme for kids during the school holidays with 2,822 people heading along to enjoy the events – the highest number of attendees on record for the event.

The festival also provided a boost to local traders with many festival-goers choosing to Spend Local and sample the great bars, restaurants and cafes in the area.

Jacqueline McCaig, owner of The Old Swan Inn which hosted the Spree Festival Club of daily events during the festival, said: “We absolutely loved hosting the Spree Festival Club at The Old Swan – it was a fantastic week of live music. The pub was really busy with a great atmosphere and a great mix of customers old and new, who came to see what the Festival Club was all about and enjoy the variety of talent we had on show.”

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It was phenomenal to see such great numbers coming along to Paisley’s Halloween Festival and to Spree and now this report shows the positive impact these major events have on the local economy and local businesses.

“We’re continuing to work with partners to offer a fantastic calendar of events to attract residents and visitors from across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“Renfrewshire has so much to offer and major events are an important part of our plans to use our culture and heritage to drive footfall and cement our status as one of Scotland’s top visitor destination.”

Photo 1. Glen Cinema commemoration 7.12.19

The people of Paisley paid tribute to one of its most tragic events on Saturday as hundreds of people attended a special commemoration event to mark the 90th anniversary of the Glen Cinema disaster.

Photo 2. Glen Cinema commemoration 7.12.19

 

More than 150 people took part in a lantern procession through the town, made up of young people, community groups and schools, before attending a special service at Paisley Abbey where 500 invited guests paid tribute to the victims, survivors and their families.

Survivors Robert Pope and Emily Brown were in attendance along with their families.

There were many poignant moments during the service including a solo cello performance of ‘Vocalise’ by Rachmaninoff which played as 70 children walked up the aisle and each laid a white rose for the children who lost their lives. Survivors Robert and Emily also laid a white rose; guests spent a minute of silence in contemplation of the tragic events; and the Starlight Chamber Choir closed the evening with a moving rendition of ‘Coming to the Glen’.

Singer-songwriter Carol Laula performed ‘Hush Now, Happy New Year’ – a song, written with actor and musician Tom Urie, specially commissioned for the 90th commemoration.

Carol said: “It was an honour to be part of such a special event – this is a really difficult part of Paisley’s rich history, but a part that must be commemorated nonetheless. The courage and sense of community that endured after this awful tragedy is one that we must continue to build and to celebrate. I believe the most conducive way to grow is to seek out the strength in our past and this tradition is one I find very nourishing.”

Liam Kay, 14, of Linwood High School, has been a member of Starlight Youth Theatre for three years and performed a monologue, ‘Getting Ready for the New Year’.

Liam said: “It was a beautiful event. It’s such a tragic thing that happened, but it is important to remember those who died and also those who survived, and it was done in a beautiful way.”

The Glen Cinema tragedy took place on 31 December 1929 when a smoking film canister caused a panic during a packed children’s matinee where more than 600 children were present. As a result of the crush that followed 70 children died and more than 30 children were injured.

News of the disaster was far-reaching with letters of condolence being sent to the town from people across the globe. The impacts were global as well – as the Cinematograph Act 1909 was then amended to ensure all cinemas had more exits, that doors opened outwards and were fitted with push bars. A limitation was also placed on the capacity of cinemas and a requirement for an appropriate number of adult attendants to ensure safety of children.

Louisa Mahon, Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, said: “The commemoration event allowed the people of Paisley to pay tribute and remember all the victims and survivors of the tragedy.

“In this, the 90th anniversary – it’s even more important to take stock of the tragic events which took place and consider the local and global impacts of the disaster.”

During the day on Saturday people were also able to view a specially commissioned commemorative film ‘The Glen Cinema Disaster’ directed by Paul Mothersole at POP Community & Arts Space in the Piazza. A small exhibition of printed letters held in the Secret Collection were also on display in the space during the day for the public to see – the exhibition will remain in the venue until the 20 December.

The annual memorial service and wreath laying will take place at Paisley Cenotaph on the morning of 31 December. This is run by community members and supported by Renfrewshire Council.

The Glen Cinema 90th anniversary commemoration event was funded through Renfrewshire Council’s Future Paisley programme.

cenotaph

The Paisley Development Trust would like you to participate in our annual remembrance of the victims of the Glen Cinema Disaster in 1929.

cenotaph

We meet at the Cenotaph at 10.30am on the 31st December and support the few survivors that are left and their families during the short ceremony and afterwards join them in a cup of tea in Burger and Keg in Gilmour street.

We would be delighted if you were able to attend.

Paisley Abbey

To mark the 90th anniversary of the Glen Cinema disaster a commemoration event is to take place in Paisley town centre on Saturday 7 December.

The event will begin with a lantern procession involving more than 150 young people from community groups and schools at 5.15pm, starting at Dunn Square, and journeying up St Mirren Brae, towards Abbey Close. Following the procession, a service at Paisley Abbey will see a number of local performers, and community groups pay tribute to the victims, survivors and their families.

Paisley Abbey

A number of invited guests will attend the service including survivors Robert Pope and Emily Brown along with their families.

The Glen Cinema tragedy took place on 31 December 1929 when a smoking film canister caused a panic during a packed children’s matinee where more than 600 children were present. As a result of the crush that followed more than 30 children were injured and 70 children died.

News of the disaster was far-reaching with letters of condolence being sent to the town from people across the globe. The impacts were also global – the Cinematograph Act 1909 was then amended to ensure all cinemas had more exits, that doors opened outwards and were fitted with push bars. A limitation was also placed on the capacity of cinemas and a requirement for a sufficient number of adult attendants to ensure safety of children.

In addition to the procession and service a commemorative film ‘The Glen Cinema Disaster’ directed by Paul Mothersole has been commissioned with ticketed, free screenings taking place on Saturday 7 December between 1pm and 4.15pm at POP Community & Arts Space in The Piazza Shopping Centre. A small exhibition of printed letters held in the Secret Collection will also be on display in POP from 7 – 20 December.

Louisa Mahon, Head of Marketing, Communications and Events at Renfrewshire Council, said: “The Glen Cinema disaster is a real tragic point in Paisley’s history with deeply traumatic consequences for so many families.

“The 90th anniversary gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of the disaster and reflect on what took place by paying tribute to and remembering the victims, survivors and their families.”

Members of the public who wish to pay their respects are encouraged to attend the lantern procession as there are only a limited number of tickets available for the Paisley Abbey service on a first come first served basis from InCube Shop, 9B Gilmour Street. Those who would like to participate in the procession can sign up to attend a Lantern Making workshop taking place on Saturday 30 November in POP, Piazza from 10am – 4pm – please be aware there are limited spaces available for this workshop.

Also, as part of the 90th anniversary commemorations an artist will be commissioned to create a public piece of art, in collaboration with the local community to commemorate and raise awareness of the disaster.

The event taking place on 7 December is in addition to the annual memorial service and wreath laying which takes place at Paisley Cenotaph on the morning of 31 December, which is run by community members and supported by Renfrewshire Council.

The Glen Cinema 90th anniversary commemoration event is funded by Renfrewshire Leisure and Renfrewshire Council through Renfrewshire Council’s Future Paisley programme.

To book a place at the lantern making workshop please visit: https://glencinemalanternworkshop.eventbrite.co.uk

To secure a ticket for The Glen Cinema Disaster film screening please visit: https://glencinemadisasterfilm.eventbrite.co.uk

A limited number of free tickets will be available to the public for the commemorative service at Paisley Abbey on a first come first served basis from InCube Shop, Paisley Office, 9B Gilmour St, Paisley PA1 1DG from Friday 22 November. The shop is open from 11am – 5pm Tuesday – Saturday.

paisley christmas

Paisley will welcome the festive season in style this weekend at the town’s annual Christmas Lights Switch-On event.

The family-favourite, free event will begin at 12pm on Saturday 16 November before Santa and his sleigh ride into town at 12.30pm to lead the 300-strong parade that will greet the gathered crowds.

paisley christmas

The parade will have a new, extended route for 2019 and is set to wow spectators with giant festive floats, costumed characters and choreographed displays from local community groups and professional performers. Following the parade there will be a number of street performers entertaining the crowds.

Visitors can take a spin around the Winter Roller Disco in County Square – a new addition to this year’s event it’s sure to be a family favourite with six sessions taking place throughout the day.

paisley christmas

The live stage will offer plenty of music and entertainment with performances from; Funbox, The Swinging Santas, Nickajack Men and this year’s stage headliners, special guests – X Factor stars, Reggie ‘N’ Bollie.

For those looking for a more traditional Christmas celebration there will be a series of local community and school choirs performing classic carols in Paisley Abbey – a sure way to get everyone in the festive mood.

paisley christmas

There’s plenty to keep the kids entertained as Coats Memorial will be transformed into the perfect Christmas playground bursting with activities to keep the little ones entertained such as writing letters to Santa, making Christmas cards, face painting, soft play and much more.

Kids can meet Santa at his Grotto in The Piazza Shopping Centre to tell him what’s on their Christmas list, while those looking to do a bit of Christmas shopping can head to the festive Urban Market offering plenty of fabulous gift ideas.

A Creative Craft Trail will be taking place as part of the event in some of the town’s fantastic local cafes and businesses, where visitors can learn to make festive jewellery, decorations and fascinators among other activities.

The big finale moment of the day will be the switch-on moment which will take place at the Live Stage at 6pm.

SANTA PAISLEY ABBEY

This year the lights will extend to the top of the High Street leading to a giant illuminated Christmas bauble, delivered in partnership with Paisley First. The bauble will be located in the grounds of Coats venue offering the perfect festive selfie spot.

Renfrewshire’s Provost, Lorraine Cameron said: “Paisley Christmas Lights Switch-On is a fantastic family day out with plenty of opportunities to get the whole family in the festive mood.

“This year’s event is even bigger with a longer parade route and children’s activities taking place in the stunning Coats venue.

“It’s sure to attract lots of visitors to the town centre and encourage people to see what fantastic festive goodies they can get their hands on in some of our great local businesses.”

There will also be a funfair at the event located on Bridge Street with smaller rides on Gilmour Street.

To find out more about future events taking place please visit: https://paisley.is/list_event/.

Tickets for the Roller Disco are £2 including booking fee and e-ticket charge and skate hire is included in this charge. Children under 8 years-old must be accompanied by an adult.

Sessions are limited to 40 places.

You can purchase tickets in advance here: https://paisley.is/winter-roller-disco/

A quiet space will be located in POP inside the Piazza Shopping Centre and Coats Venue -this will be an autism friendly space with soft lighting, comfortable seating and noise cancelling headphones.