The biggest manufacturer of leather in the UK has created a bespoke Visitor’s Book to celebrate its backing of Paisley’s bid to be named UK City of Culture 2021.

Paisley is one of five places shortlisted for the UK City of Culture 2021 title alongside Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea, with a decision announced this Thursday by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which organised the competition.

Chief  Executive Officer Iain McFadyen and Director James Lang of Scottish Leather Group (SLG) handed over the embossed leather tome to Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron  as it became the latest private sector firm to back the town’s title ambitions.

Hand crafted by designer Kerr Watson in his Bridge of Allan studio, the book is inscribed with the Paisley 2021 logo in the distinctive bid colours of blue and orange.

Provost Cameron said: “We are delighted that a company with such historic roots and international links is backing the bid for Paisley to become UK City of Culture 2021.

“The support from Scottish Leather Group and the business community as a whole demonstrates the scale of the commitment to the town’s bid to be named UK City of Culture 2021.

“It’s also wonderful to have such a special memento from SLG which showcases their work and will hopefully be used to capture visitor’s thoughts on Paisley in a winning year of culture.”

SLG is the parent company of a group of leather manufacturing and associated companies which has an annual turnover in excess of £120M.

The group’s Bridge of Weir site opened in 1905 and today houses one of Europe’s largest leather production facilities.

Its five companies include the 110-year-old  Bridge of Weir Leather, which specialises in luxury automotive leathers and Paisley tanners W J & W Lang, which can trace its roots back to 1872. Glasgow-based Andrew Muirhead makes high performance leather for airline interiors, with customers including British Airways, Thomson, Virgin Atlantic and Singapore Airlines.

Visitors to the world’s only seven star hotel, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai will also spot SLG’s craftsmanship.

Director James Lang said: “Scottish Leather Group is delighted to support Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

“Having had a presence in Paisley that dates back to 1872, winning UK City of Culture will benefit local businesses, the residents of Paisley and Renfrewshire as a whole.”

SLG is one of 15 organisations to pledge a combined £300,000  should Paisley take the UK City of Culture 2021 title.

The sponsor list includes international drinks giants Chivas Brothers and Diageo and life sciences company Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Hillington-based haulage firm Gordon Leslie Group also branded a truck that has travelled the length and breadth of the UK, emblazoned with Paisley 2021 logo.

The world’s largest industrial thread manufacturer Coats, which started life in the town has also backed the bid as has the Mount Stuart Trust.

They are joined by businesses with local roots, MacAsphalt, Clark Contracts  and Morrison Construction and a further anonymous sponsor.

Glasgow Airport marked its formal endorsement of the town’s title ambitions with Paisley themed art work at the check in area, while intu Braehead, held a Paisley 2021 day with local musicians and youth groups.

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and Paisley First, which represent more than 900 businesses between them, have also thrown their weight behind the town’s title ambitions while WH Malcolm wrapped the backs of two trailers with the Paisley 2021 logo to show its support.

School pupils from Paisley and India have bridged the 4,000 plus miles between them to create unique artwork based on their shared lives.

The Paisley and Jodhpur Digital Tapestry brought together 100 young people from two continents, who exchanged photographs on image sharing website Cluster to gain an insight into each other’s lives.

Like Paisley, the city of Jodphur in the north western state of Rajasthan, has a strong textiles heritage.

The tapestry created by Paisley pupils was unveiled on St Andrew’s Day as the town bids to be named UK City of Culture 2021. The decision is set to be announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which organised the competition, on the evening of December 7.

The installation is the second half of a project, which launched with a Musical Tapestry collaboration between Scottish and Indian musicians, at Paisley’s annual Spree Festival in October .

The concert was supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate and was  earlier performed at the Rajasthan International Folk Festival, which is twinned with the Spree, thanks to support from the British Council as part of their UK/India Year of Culture 2017.

The tapestry was unveiled by Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron at Paisley Piazza, where it will remain for the next six months.

It was stitched together with thread donated by Coats, whose fortunes were interlinked with the town.

Provost Cameron said: “This is a remarkable public art project which saw young people from opposite ends of the world gain an insight into each other’s everyday lives, transcending any cultural or language barriers.

“It marks the links both places have with the textiles industry and the Paisley pattern and it’s fitting it was unveiled on St Andrews Day, strengthening our bond and links with our friends in India.”

The Scottish group, which involved pupils from Gryffe High, Paisley Grammar School and St Catherine’s, Gallowhill, Todholm and St Margaret’s primary schools, were invited to attend creative workshops with commissioned artist, Fiona Hermse.

Young People from the Bredliand Flexible Learning Centre were also involved and as well as the photographs, pupils created collages, drawings and writing to celebrate both their differences and connections with Jodhpur and India.

The images were turned into a digitized pattern which was then printed onto fabric in the shape of the iconic Paisley teardrop shape.

The Indian participants created a digital image with the same shared photographs from their home in Jodphur  along with artist Yogendra Singh Rajawat, which will be made public there on December 20.

Artists Fiona Hermse said: “The biggest difference the pupils commented on when they saw the Indian photographs was the wonderful colour in them, including the blue houses in Jodphur old town.

“They said the photos made them feel happy and reminded them of summer time, while some of the older children expressed an interest in either a career in the Arts  or travelling to India one day.

Yogendra Singh Rajawat said: “This was a one of kind experience to merge my traditional art form with the life of two beautiful and different cities coming together as one through the young people.“

British Council Scotland Director Jackie Killeen said: “We are pleased to have supported this project as part of the UK India Year of Culture because it has enabled children in Scotland and India to connect with each other around the creation of innovative new work. This is particularly heartening as we look towards the 2018 Year of Young People in Scotland, and we hope the connections that have been formed will continue long into the future.”

The Spree Artistic Director and Lisa Whytock from Active Events, said: “The idea of the digital tapestry was to get young people engaged with each other’s cultures and to connect them through digital pictures.”

Scotland’s connections with the Paisley pattern began via Kashmir where it could be found woven into traditional patterned shawls.

Textile companies in the UK began to produce cheaper imitations of the shawls and production spread to Paisley, whose name was given to the pattern.


Thursday 14th December at 6.45pm – Christmas Concert at Paisley Methodist Central Halls. Pupils are welcome to come along to our Christmas concert and perform a song they have been working on. All family and friends welcome. Tickets will be available at the door – £5 for adults & £2 for children/concessions

New term for Saturday classes starting January 13th in Paisley School – The class times for next term are as follows;

Musical Tots (ages 1-3 years) – 9.30am

Musical Maestros (ages 3-5 years) – 10am

Junior Musicianship (ages 5-9 years) – 10am

Theory & Musicianship (ages 8-11 years) – 11am

Guitar Group – 12pm

Musical Maestros (ages 3-5 years) – 12.20pm

Guitar Group – 1pm

Taster Block (ages 6-13 years) – 2.30pm

New drum group starting on Thursdays from 11th January from 4.30 – 5.30pm

New lesson availability – We have new spaces on Mondays for singing and piano lessons between 4-5pm, and 6.30-7.30pm.

We also have space for drum lessons at 3.30pm, 5.30pm and 6pm.

We are also taking names of our Go Kids Music club, which will be starting in Paisley after Christmas. This is a fun class with singing, games, and ukulele.


  • Glasgow Kelvin College students team up with Indian colleagues to host an exciting fashion extravaganza.
  • Paisley Pattern forms the heart of cultural exchange show for Deputy First Minister and VIP Guests in India.

A group of fashion students are heading off to India to stage a spectacular fashion show in the heart of India’s bustling Mumbai.

Students from Glasgow Kelvin College will be meeting up with their counterparts from the Government Polytechnic for Women in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh to reveal their exquisite designs for an invited VIP audience.  

The Show, “Fashioning the Future – Sharing Skills, Culture and Sustainability”, forms a key part of a cultural trip to India and is the climax of a British Council/UKIERI-funded programme where Scottish and Indian students have shared knowledge, skills and experience over the last two years.

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, will join guests from key learning and skills organisations throughout India, plus Paisley’s UK City of Culture 2021 bid, University of West of Scotland (UWS), Glasgow Caledonian University and the British Council.  Focus will be on the bonds which unite India and Scotland and the uniqueness of that relationship in the development of the iconic Paisley Pattern.

There will be presentations around the exciting UWS ‘Paisley Pearls’ project which reimagines the Paisley pattern, with its origins in the ancient Kashmiri pattern for the digital age and Glasgow Caledonian University’s sustainability initiative.

However, the stars of the show will be the fabulous garments designed and crafted by Glasgow Kelvin College’s HN and degree level Fashion Design & Production with Retail students and the exquisite creations from the ten Guntur students.

Glasgow Kelvin has also developed links with two social inclusion projects in India – the globally recognised Make Love Not Scars project which supports the rehabilitation and employment of survivors of acid attacks and the Project Tres campaign which creates opportunities for women survivors of domestic violence.

Joining the models will be survivors from these organisations who will courageously strut their stuff on the catwalk to showcase the myriad of designs and textiles created by the students.

The event shines a spotlight on the great contribution which colleges and their students can make at an international level, expanding their own skills and cultural experience as well as promoting the role they can play in helping develop the global economy in a sustainable and inclusive way.  

Encapsulating the Scottish Government’s ambitions around internationalisation to encourage global citizenship, this visit is another prime example of the valuable contribution to be made by both colleges and universities working together to deliver a world-class model of collaboration, skills and cultural exchange.  

Alan Sherry, Principal of Glasgow Kelvin College, said;

“The College is privileged to be a key part of this delegation to India.  We are amazed at the creative skills shown by our own talented students and those of our partners at Guntur Polytechnic.  The students should be very proud of what they have achieved and they are excited to be showcasing their work to the Deputy First Minister and important guests – it’s an incredible experience and opportunity for them all.

“We are extremely grateful to the British Council and UKIERI for making the programme possible and are looking forward to meeting with our partners in India and collaborating with our education colleagues to host a hugely successful event.”

Jackie Killeen, the British Council’s Director, Scotland said;

“Bringing international experience to life for young people in Scotland is at the very heart of our work, so we are delighted to have supported the students from Glasgow Kelvin College to take part in the special cross-cultural event in India.  The project is an inspirational example of a mutually beneficial collaboration between learners in both countries and we look forward to seeing and learning more about their outstanding work.”

Paisley 2021 Bid Director, Jean Cameron, said;

“We are honoured to be part of the delegation and it’s wonderful that the Paisley Pattern is at the centre of such a worthy project that strengthens the links between students in Scotland and India and the bonds between the two countries themselves.

“The Paisley Pattern has had a huge cultural impact and made the name of the town famous across the globe.  As we await a decision on the UK City of Culture 2021 title, the pattern is as relevant today as ever and is at the heart of plans to transform the town.”

Prof Craig Mahoney, Principal and Vice Chancellor of University of the West of Scotland said;

“UWS is delighted to be taking part in this exciting event in Mumbai, in particular collaborating with our partner organisations including Glasgow Kelvin College, Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Government, as part of this visit to enhance the already strong links between Scotland and India. Innovation is key to India’s continued growth and we hope that this visit will enable us to build on our current collaborations and also develop new and positive relationships. UWS’s Paisley Pearls project is a prime example of innovation in digital technologies and we are proud to be part of the Mumbai event and the wider visit to help promote expertise and innovation in Scotland’s education sector.” 

Prof James Miller, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Strategy), Glasgow Caledonian University, said;

“Glasgow Caledonian University’s Fair Fashion Centre, located at our New York college, is proving the business case for sustainability by turning global industry issues into opportunities.

“When considering the impact the fashion supply chain has on other industries – from farming an manufacturing to transportation, real estate and waste management – there are many distinct but entangled elements that must evolve together to create an industry that supports people, planet and profits.

“We’re proud of our mission, as the University for the Common Good, and delighted to be working with Glasgow Kelvin College and the University of the West of Scotland in demonstrating the collaborative approach to higher education, finding real solutions for real world challenges.”

An innovative plan for a film and arts space at Paisley’s Baker Street has been overwhelmingly voted by the public as winner of the national “FutureTown” Design Competition.

Plans to transform a derelict site at Smithhills Street, close to Gilmour Street station, into a new cultural quarter include a flexible 500 seat theatre space and 5 mini-screen film theatre – GFT/ Grosvenor in style with 170 to 70 seats.

An unkempt wasteland currently greets 7 million passenger journeys passing through the town by rail. The potential to transform this site and in doing so the perception of the town is obvious and desperately needed.

A new destination; a new place will be created featuring indoor and outdoor spaces that will make full use of the space to create something truly special.

The new building (designed by award winning architects Stallan Brand) features light cannons designed to create a new skyline silhouette mirroring the famous Paisley Skyline in a contemporary way. Paisley has no better location or possess the imagination and transformational potential than Baker Street.

Gary Kerr, Chairman, Paisley Community Trust  

“We’re totally thrilled for Paisley to win this competition. It’s terrific to see Baker Street Paisley gain widespread recognition and endorsement through a national competition.

A massive thank you to everyone in Paisley, Scotland and further afield who voted for Paisley to win.
What we are creating is everyone’s. A facility, venue, space and hub for the community to use.

It continues to inspire and drive us forward when Paisley people tell us they can’t wait to pop into town again to see a movie or theatrical performance. This award will give those who voted added pride in the town and the project. “

“As we move into our next phase; we’re asking everyone to take Baker Street Paisley forward to the next level with financial backing.

Local and national government as well as Paisley supporting businesses and individuals will all have a part to play. Now is the time to get behind Baker Street Paisley – we’d be delighted to hear from you if you can help.”  

One of Paisley’s most iconic buildings has received a prestigious award for conservation following a £5m restoration project.

The category A-listed Russell Institute has received this year’s coveted Conservation Award from the Glasgow Institute of Architects (GIA) for a refurbishment funded by Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund and Historic Environment Scotland.

It was one of just eight projects to be recognised in the annual awards programme of the charity, which runs competitions based around themes of towns, cities and neighbourhoods.

In its citation, the GIA described the project as ‘a clever re-use of this important 1920s listed building which has been brought back to its former glory’ and said it had been ‘executed with great skill.’

The work at the Institute was sparked by the passion of local volunteers in the Paisley Development Trust and it also received a Commercial Commendation for its design in the office, commercial, retail and industry category from the GIA.

Designed by Glasgow based architects Elder and Cannon, the restoration is part of a wider project to revitalise Paisley Town Centre.

The former health centre officially  re-opened its doors in August and is now home to Skills Development Scotland and the Council’s Invest in Renfrewshire employability team.

It houses around 120 employees, including careers and employability staff helping unemployed people across Renfrewshire and works closely with local businesses to create further jobs and grow the local economy.

Main contractors CBC Ltd were charged with ensuring the distinctive features of the Institute were retained, from the ornate sculptures on the outside of the building, to its stunning staircase and interior balcony.

Renfrewshire Council Depute Leader, Councillor Jim Paterson said: “It’s great news that the restoration of such an iconic building has been recognised in this way and I’d like to thank everyone involved in the project.

“The revamp was carefully planned to preserve the institute’s architectural features but to also ensure it stays fit for purpose for the 21st century and is preserved for future generations.

“It’s a building that is important to the local community and its new role as a Skills and Employability Hub means that it is now helping generate new jobs and opportunities for the people of Renfrewshire.”

Megan Leishman, Grants Officer at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “We’re delighted that the hard work and effort of all those involved with the restoration of the Russell Institute has been recognised with this award.

“It is vital that we preserve our historic environment to help regenerate local areas, and we are pleased to have helped give a new lease of life to this iconic, A-listed landmark for the Paisley community through our Historic Environment Repair Grant Fund.”

The institute is a key part of a range of projects and initiatives to bolster business and drive people back to Paisley town centre, including the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021.

Paisley has been shortlisted alongside Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea with a decision expected from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which organised the competition, in December.

A new publicly-accessible museum store is also preparing to open in a previously-empty unit on Paisley High St and there are plans for a new £5m Cultural & Learning Hub housing the Paisley Central Library as well as a £42m revamp of Paisley Museum.

MSP Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government and Housing said: “I was delighted to attend to the official opening of the Russell Institute and see first-hand the fantastic restoration of this iconic building in the heart of Paisley. I’d like to congratulate everyone involved and whose hard work has been recognised by these well-deserved awards.

“The project is a great example of how we can use existing assets to regenerate our town centres and support local communities”.

Final preparations are being made for the Paisley start of the 2018 historic rally run to Monte Carlo…..and it’s been confirmed there will be the largest number of entries so far with a total of 25 cars setting off for the 1500-mile trip to the South of France.

It’ll be the fifth time the town – the sole shortlisted Scottish entry for the title UK City of Culture 2021 – will be the only British start point of six European cities.

Pictured Alan Stark and Driver Sandy McEwan in a 1971 Porsche ,Douglas Anderson the Uk Coordinator with his 1961 Triumph Herald ,Tony Fitzpatrick Chief Executive St Mirren Football Club and Rally Driver Iain MacDonald from Kilmacolm in a 1967 Saab 96 with Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron
Final preparations are being made for the Paisley start of the the 2018 historic rally run to Monte Carlo…..and its been confirmed there will be the largest number of entries so far with a total of 25 Cars setting off for the 15000-mile trip to the south of france.Itll be the 5th time the town -the sole shortlisted Scottish entry for the UK city of culture 2021 will be the only British start point of six european cities.
All rally enquiries to Alan Douglas
Mark F Gibson / Gibson Digital
All images © Gibson Digital 2017. 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.

Close to a hundred cars in total are expected to leave the start ramp outside Paisley Abbey at 6pm on Wednesday January 31st in three separate categories.

The Historique class is being run for the 21st year and is restricted to car models which competed in the Monte Carlo Rallies between 1955 and 1980. It will run over eight days on open public roads with the cars and crews having undertaken a series of fourteen demanding test stages in the mountains of southern France.

The Classique event is for older cars from as early as 1911 to 1969 and follows the same route to Monte Carlo but does not include any test stages, the goal simply being to finish in Monte Carlo after checking in at a series of control points on the way, including Dumfries in the south of Scotland, Barnby Moor in Nottinghamshire and Banbury in Oxfordshire.

Once again the event will feature the popular Monte Heritage Runs which will follow on from the full-scale events and motoring enthusiasts in a range of interesting cars from over the years will take in a series of short classic routes in Scotland, including Aberdeen, Dumfries and Stirling.

Pictured Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron in a 1967 Saab 96
Final preparations are being made for the Paisley start of the the 2018 historic rally run to Monte Carlo…..and its been confirmed there will be the largest number of entries so far with a total of 25 Cars setting off for the 15000-mile trip to the south of france.Itll be the 5th time the town -the sole shortlisted Scottish entry for the UK city of culture 2021 will be the only British start point of six european cities.
All rally enquiries to Alan Douglas
Mark F Gibson / Gibson Digital
All images © Gibson Digital 2017. 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.

In January this year a crowd of around 10,000 gathered in the centre of Paisley with the magnificent backdrop of the Abbey to wave off the crews in a party atmosphere with lights, music, street food and fireworks…..and working with staff from Renfrewshire Council and volunteers from many motorsport clubs in Scotland, the organisers are confident of making the start even bigger and better next year.

At today’s official launch of the 2018 event at St Mirren Football Club’s ground, the Paisley 2021 Stadium, Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “We are delighted to welcome the only UK start leg of this prestigious international event back to Paisley for another year – and it’s great to have the support of St Mirren.

“The cars are always a really popular spectacle which draw a big crowd into the town centre and I am looking forward to waving them off on the night as they head to Monte-Carlo.

“By the time the event rolls around we will know if Paisley has been successful in its bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 – events like this one are a huge part of our plans to bring visitors into Paisley and boost the local economy.”

St Mirren chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick added: “Paisley means everything to St Mirren, so we support anything which helps put the town on the map – and Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 and this event both certainly do that.

“We enjoyed welcoming the cars to the Paisley 2021 Stadium and I’m sure they will generate another great turnout in the town centre.”

Douglas Anderson, the UK co-ordinator and the man responsible for bringing the Monte back to Scotland in 2011, will be leading the cars off to Monte Carlo in his 1961 Triumph Herald Coupe.

He said: “The Paisley Abbey Start of the Monte Carlo Rally is acknowledged to be the best of all the Rally Starts, with thousands of Paisley buddies cheering the cars and crews on their way to the snowy Alps and on to the sunshine in Monte Carlo.”

Among the entrants who’ll be heading for Monte Carlo in the Historique Class is Iain MacDonald of Kilmacolm, along with Swedish co-driver Patrick Toorell in his 1967 Saab 96.

He’s looking forward to the adventure: “I competed in rallies in the Sixties and Seventies around the UK and more recently in Scandinavia but the Monte has got to be the ultimate and it’ll be a challenge in our 50 year old Saab. It’ll be interesting to set off from Paisley Abbey. I was married there in 1972.”

Also taking part in the Historiques is Sandy McEwen and Alan Stark in a rare 1971 Porsche 914/6 which Sandy has bought specially for the event. Although Sandy has more than 45 years of experience in motorsport including driving single-seaters, GTs, saloons and historics, he describes himself as “a rallying newbie”.

One of the crews in the Classique Class is Albert De May and co-driver Roland De Bargigli from Belgium. They’ll be driving their 1936 Chevrolet Coupe and had originally planned to set off from Lisbon but when that start point was cancelled they opted instead for Paisley.

“I love the UK and especially Scotland so it’s all worked out well. The Paisley start point also gives us the opportunity to travel through more attractive routes,”

said Albert.

All the competing cars will assemble from around 4pm in the precincts of Paisley Abbey on the evening of Wednesday January 31st before setting off at 6pm for the long drive south.


More information can be found at

One of Scotland’s leading construction firms has declared its support for Paisley’s 2021 UK City of Culture bid.

Morrison Construction will make a five-figure contribution should Paisley take the title.

More than 200 companies have shown their support, while 13 private sector organisations have committed over quarter of a million pounds if the bid is successful.

Paisley has been short listed for UK City of Culture 2021, alongside Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea.  A decision will be announced in December by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which organises the competition.

Morrison Construction is part of the UK-wide Galliford Try Group, and has delivered more than £1 billion public and private sector projects over the last five years, including many schools and hospitals across Scotland.

The company has also been involved in the construction of the iconic Falkirk Wheel and the Queensferry Crossing, which opened to traffic in August this year.

Morrison Construction is also currently working on Renfrewshire Council’s project to rebuild the shared campus of St Paul’s Primary School, Foxlea Early Learning and Childcare Centre and Foxlea Learning Centre in Paisley.

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive and member of the Paisley 2021 Executive Bid Team, Bob Grant welcomed the company’s support and said: “It’s great to have a company like Morrison Construction on board as a sponsor of the Paisley UK City of Culture 2021 title bid. We are very near to a decision and the scale of the support from the business community shows how widely the bid has been embraced.

“Firms large and small and many with international links have thrown their weight behind it because they recognise the economic and cultural benefits it brings.”

Morrison has strong links with Renfrewshire and its Community Benefits team has delivered careers presentations and health and safety talks at local schools including St Benedict’s High School in Linwood and Park Mains High in Erskine.

Over the past year in the west of Scotland, Morrison Construction’s Community Benefits activities have included more than 5,000 engagements with pupils and students, and 572 work experience days set up.

The company’s projects across the region have seen the creation of 107 jobs and 92 new apprenticeships through the supply chain.

Morrison Construction’s Regional Managing Director, Eddie Robertson, said: “We are excited about the new opportunities which would be sparked by a Paisley success in the UK City of Culture 2021.

“It would create direct and indirect opportunities for companies like ours to provide the services and infrastructure, with all the following spin-off benefits for communities, education and employment. “We are delighted to be a supporter of the bid.’’

Other firms to have backed the bid include drinks giants Diageo and Chivas Brothers.

Companies with international links like Glasgow Airport, intu Braehead and Thermo Fisher Scientific have also backed the town’s title ambitions. Coats PLC, the world’s largest industrial thread manufacturer and which still retains a presence in Paisley has also declared its support.

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and Paisley First, which represent 900 businesses between them have also backed the bid, along with local companies the Gordon Leslie Group, Clark Contracts, MacAsphalt and Scottish Leather Group, the largest manufacturer of leather in the United Kingdom.

Trucking company WH Malcom branded two trailers with the Paisley 2021 logo, which have travelled the length and breadth of the UK.

The skies above Renfrew came alive with the Christmas Lights Switch-On and a sensational fireworks finale as the countdown to the festive season begins.

Crowds flocked to the town centre on November 25 to enjoy a host of free family activities in Renfrew Town Hall, including Big Top children’s drop in craft workshops.

The event comes as Paisley bids to be named UK City of Culture 2021 and is itself part of the area’s Winter Events programme.

Little ones were enthralled by Ipdip Theatres ‘Ssh, Elves are very shy’ interactive shows.

Santa was on hand in his grotto to take Christmas list requests from boys and girls, with his trusty reindeers also proving popular.

Kirklandneuk Primary School Choir added to the festive atmosphere while Renfrew Burgh Band entertained the crowds with a 30 minute performance.

A funfair added to the excitement while DJ Gus from Pulse FM entertained the crowds from the live outside stage.

A winner of the Provost’s Christmas card competition, school girl Erin Murray from Arkleston Primary was on hand to assist Provost Lorraine Cameron with the big switch on.

Provost Cameron said: “It was great to see so many happy, smiling faces at the event and to meet so many local people. The children loved seeing Santa and his reindeer and the fireworks were a really special way to end a lovely event.”

One of the world’s leading life science companies has backed Paisley’s bid to be named UK City of Culture 2021.

Thermo Fisher 2021 sponsor 16.11.17

Thermo Fisher Scientific, which employs more than 700 people at its Renfrewshire base, has pledged financial backing if Paisley takes title.

The town is bidding as part of wider plans to use its unique cultural and heritage story to transform its future.

Thermo Fisher 2021 sponsor 16.11.17

Renfrewshire Provost Lorraine Cameron visited the latest international firm to back the town’s ambitions and said: “As we approach a decision on the UK City of Culture 2021, it’s good to be able to express our thanks to businesses, some with global links, who have put their support behind us.

“The scale of the commitment of the business community, including international firms such as Thermo Fisher Scientific, demonstrates how they have embraced the huge opportunity to boost the area’s economy.

Thermo Fisher 2021 sponsor 16.11.17

“They’ve also welcomed the idea of working with culture and cultural organisations.”

This year’s Nobel Chemistry Prize winners, pioneering scientists, Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson, worked with systems manufactured by Thermo Fisher.

The life sciences giant has global revenues topping £15 billion and has around 65,000 employees worldwide.

Its base in Renfrewshire has a history stretching back more than four decades and it has grown and expanded its manufacturing footprint and workforce in recent times.

It opened a £14 million facility at the Inchinnan plant in 2015, where novel technology is used to make products for drugs which treat influenza and other diseases.

Jim Carswell, Operations Director & Inchinnan Site Leader, said: “Thermo Fisher Scientific has had a presence in the area for more than 45 years and many of our employees are local to the area.

“We are delighted to throw our support behind the Paisley bid to be the UK City of Culture in 2021 and we wish the team every success ahead of the announcement next month.”

More than 200 companies have shown their support for Paisley’s bid, while a further 13 private sector organisations have committed over quarter of  a million pounds if the town is successful.

Thermo Fisher Scientific joins a list of sponsors including international drinks giant Diageo, which demonstrated its support by creating a limited edition of Johnnie Walker whisky.

Hillington-based haulage firm Gordon Leslie Group branded a truck that has travelled the length breadth of the UK, emblazoned with the Paisley  2021 logo.

The world’s largest industrial thread manufacturer Coats, which started life in the town, has also backed the bid, while Glasgow Airport marked its formal endorsement with Paisley themed art work at the check in area.

They are joined by Chivas Brothers and other businesses with local roots, Mac Asphalt, Morrison Construction, Clark Contracts  and the Scottish Leather Group.

WH Malcolm wrapped the backs of two trailers with Paisley 2021  branding to show its support, while intu Braehead, held a Paisley 2021 day with local musicians and youth groups.

Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce and Paisley First, which represent more than 900 businesses between them, have also thrown their weight behind the town’s title ambitions.

A decision on the UK City of Culture 2021 title is expected from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport which organised the competition, next month.