Paisley Photographs, official Paisley website containing Photographs of Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland with some superb videos of Paisley and the town.

fairtrade rice challenge

Employees of Renfrewshire Council have sold over 100 bags of rice for a special Fairtrade challenge to help the children of Malawi.

The Kilombero rice was sold to employees by adding it to the lunchtime soup and by encouraging colleagues to buy a bag of rice to take home.

Promoted by Just Trading Scotland (JTS), the 90kg rice challenge initiative makes enough money for a Malawian farmer to send one child to high school for a year.

fairtrade rice challenge

Chair of Renfrewshire’s Fairtrade Steering Group, Councillor Jim Sharkey, said: “The 90kg rice challenge was a fun and innovative way for us to help Fairtrade and to fund a child’s education in Malawi.

“Renfrewshire Council has always been committed to supporting Fairtrade and promoting fairness and sustainability for farmers both at home and abroad.

“We work in partnership with a range of local organisations, and do our utmost to promote Fairtrade among our staff, customers and communities so that they understand the value of the campaign.

“It is great to know you are making a difference to someone’s life and we hope that we have encouraged people to be more conscious of their choices when they are shopping and choose Fairtrade.”

Just Trading Scotland Executive Board Member, Malcolm Shannon, said: “JTS are delighted that Renfrewshire council has been one of the many groups to complete the 90kg Rice Challenge. Over three tonnes of Fair Trade rice has been sold in Renfrewshire to date, which is enough to enable 30 children to receive a year’s education in Malawi.”

To find out more about the 90kg rice challenge, visit

Johnstone Town Hall

The long wait is almost over…Johnstone residents will this week be able to see inside their new £14.5m town hall when the building opens to the public for the first time.

And these pictures offer a sneak glimpse inside the state-of-the-art facility, which is set to be the centrepiece of life in the town for generations to come from Monday 23 March.

The striking glass-fronted structure has already been declared a winner – having been named Public Building of the Year at the Scottish Property Awards 2015.

Johnstone Town Hall

As the pictures show, it has been designed with a central ‘high street’ off which sits the main hall and theatre space, the new Johnstone library, a coffee shop and meeting and conference rooms.

The ground floor also contains a ceremony suite and bases for Police Scotland and Macmillan Cancer Support, while offices for Renfrewshire Council staff and a dance studio are upstairs.

Johnstone Town Hall

The building won’t be fully operational until later this year but Monday marks the start of a phased rollout of services, including the library, main reception and customer service centre.

Staff from the council’s housing department and Advice Works service will be in their new offices from that day, having moved from Floors Street and Collier Street.

Johnstone Town Hall

Their colleagues from the council’s social work service will still be based in Floorsburn House for another week, and will move into the new building on Monday 30 March.

The registrars’ service will still be based in McDowell Street until 10 April before it moves to its new home in the ceremony suite.

Bookings are now being taken for small-scale functions within the halls, which are open from Monday, although larger-scale functions won’t be available until May.

Councillor James Harte, convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, said: “The project has been completed on budget and on schedule and we are thrilled to finally be able to open the doors.

Johnstone Town Hall

“Johnstone residents have watched the new building rise from the ground over the past two years and this week will be their first chance to have a look around.

“The council has made a massive financial commitment to the project to help drive the regeneration of Johnstone and the building has changed the face of the entire town centre.

Johnstone Town Hall

“It has already won awards for its design and build – and I am sure the public will be as impressed by the building as the judges at the Scottish Property Awards were.

“Ultimately the residents of Johnstone are the ones who matter most – the building was shaped by them and built for them, and I am sure they will make great use of the modern facilities within it.”

Johnstone Town Hall

Council leader Mark Macmillan and Provost Anne Hall will visit the building on the day it opens to meet some of the first visitors through the door, with an official opening ceremony to take place later this spring.

For more information about the building or to make a booking, call 0300 300 1210 or email

Johnstone Town Hall

Images courtesy of Renfrewshire Council.


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Dedicated dancers will be hot to trot and thrilled to tango when they take to the floor at this year’s Strictly Come Prancing competition to raise vital funds for St Vincent’s Hospice.

The big hearted fund raisers have stepped up to strut their stuff at the big event in the Normandy Hotel on Friday, March 20.

Ten couples, who are backing the charity by putting themselves up before a team of judges to battle it out for the coveted prize, have been working with their choreographers since November last year.


Now, training at the Pro-Life Fitness Centre in Paisley has been stepped up as the glitz and glamour evening draws closer.

The dancers are being put through their paces by last year’s winners Lisa Marie McLaughlin and Gordon Elliot – both dance teachers and qualified choreographers.

Having taken to the floor themselves the pair know exactly what the couples, who range in age from their mid 20’s to over 60, are facing.

Gordon, who celebrated his recent 30th birthday pairing up with the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Russian professional Kristina Rihanoff for lessons, revealed there are a few nerves but excitement is mounting and he can’t wait to see the couples on the dance floor.

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He said:”Lisa Marie and I were absolutely thrilled to win last year. It was a tremendous evening with a wonderful atmosphere and we were ecstatic when our quick step routine wowed the judges.

“Then to be asked to do the choreography for the dancers for the 2015 showdown was such a privilege for us.

“This big night raises thousands of pounds for the hospice which does incredible work for the people of Renfrewshire so it’s wonderful that our couples volunteered to put themselves up for the training which takes time and dedication.

“They have all worked really hard on their routines and Lisa Marie and I are really proud of what they have achieved. It should be a great show and fantastic evening for everyone who comes along.

“I know the dancers are all working hard at getting sponsorship too and if anyone can help out with that they should contact the hospice. Pro-Life has given us such great support and Intu Braehead has come in with sponsorship for the event which is smashing.”

Last year St Vincent’s raised more than £25,000 and the year before, because it was over two nights, they raised an incredible £37,000 from the evenings with the money going to help provide care and support for those who have life-limiting illnesses and their families too.

Gordon, who also works as an administrative assistant at Renfrew High School, added: “Our amateur dancers will be tackling a number of dances including the Charleston, cha-cha-cha, Viennese Waltz, Quick Step and a couple of Foxtrots. I have no doubt the audience will be impressed by the performances.”

While Gordon and Lisa Marie will be supporting their new students from the sidelines they are also taking part too. They will open and end the show with their own new routines.

Gayle Brannigan, chief executive at Pro Life which is run by Renfrewshire Sports Charity, said: “Every pound profit we make goes to our hospices – both St Vincent’s and ACCORD so we are urging all our members to back Strictly Come Prancing.

“We are delighted to be able to help out by opening up our studio to the dancers for their training. We are all looking forward to the big night and another great fundraiser for St Vincent’s.

“Well done to everyone who has been working so hard on their performances.  I can’t wait to see them.”

The hospice say they are delighted with the support of the dancers, sponsors intu Braehead, the choreographers, Pro-Life and everyone who has helped pull it altogether.

“Each of the dancers has promised to raise £250 for the hospice so the big winners on the evening will be St Vincent’s,” a spokesperson said.

For more information, to sponsor any of the couples or donate a prize for the tombola call St Vincent’s on 01505 705635.


Every pound profit made at the Pro-Life Fitness Centre in Paisley is donated to St Vincent’s and ACCORD hospices.


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Lisa Marie and Alex Whelan Jnr from Pro Life with the couples who have stepped up their training schedules at the Paisley fitness centre.

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Last year’s Strictly Come Prancing winners Gordon Elliot and Lisa Marie McLaughlin who are choreographers for this year’s competitors.

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American footballers are celebrating their latest home win after bagging a new sponsorship deal with Pro-Life and Five on 5 in Paisley.

The West Coast Trojans, who boast a squad which includes amateur players from all over Renfrewshire, believe the partnership will make it easier for them to train and recruit new talent to the sport.

Trojans Head Coach Gary McNey said: “It’s great to have Pro-Life on board for another year. They are giving us a new set of game jerseys and a deal which is worth thousands of pounds to us and we can’t thank them enough.

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“The squad also get to use the gym and pitches and family and friends get special rates too.
“We know the gym is now being run by Renfrewshire Sports Charity and we’re delighted they saw fit to back us.

“The staff are unbelievable. They are happy to help us with specialised training, workouts and nutrition advice to make sure we’re getting the best expert help around. Nothing is too much trouble for any of them.

“With Five on 5 on board too we have a solid base to recruit and run our pre-season training. As well as training there twice a week when the weather ain’t that great it’s also a great venue for any events we wish to run including the 2015 Superbowl. Everyone has been awesome.”

Gary, who founded the Trojans in 2004 and is still playing at 47 after 29 years in the game, added: “One side of my family are from Salt Village, Illinois so there’s always been a keen interest in American Football in my house.

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“I go over to the States at least once a year and I’m still on a mission to get more people over here interested in taking up the sport.

“Our training sessions are open for anyone to come along, have a chat about how you can become a player, and to see what training is like and what’s expected. People have this image that you have to be huge and built like a tank – you don’t.
“We have big guys like Paddy Shields who is 6ft 5ins and 21 stone and smaller guys like Joshua Polson who is 5ft 10 and 15 stone and fast. You need power and strength but also speed in your team.”
Training is intense both indoors and outdoors and the squad is involved in sprint training, plyometrics exercises – a technique that uses explosive movements like jump squats or one-leg hops with some moves faster than others.
Every time players land from a jump their muscles get a stretch which gives their next jump even more power. The combination of stretching and contracting muscles whips them into shape.
Gary, from Erskine, who was signed to Rangers in his younger days, explained: “This workout uses maximum power to strengthen your muscles. The moves are quick and explosive, so you have to prepare to use a lot more energy than you do in a typical strength-training session.

“Our taster sessions are a great way to find out if the sport is for you. You need to have some level of fitness and a determination to increase that level with a regime of training which includes lifts, sprints, weights, strength training and speed training,

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“There’s also the one on one, two on two and three on three contact training, throwing and catching a football and a whole lot more. We have players ranging in age from 18 to our oldest Stewart Caldwell, or Soggy as we call him who is 48 and a great-grandfather. So there’s no age limit.”

The dad-of-four, a joiner who runs his own business when he’s not coaching, believes the sport will get bigger in this country and people will open their eyes to the game he is passionate about.

For now he has his own personal challenge to face after winning a five-week training camp with former pro-Life gym owner Alex Whelan senior.

Gary said: “Although Alex has retired he still does personal training at the gym. Last time I had a stint with him it almost killed me. I’m dreading it but know I will appreciate how good I will feel after it.

He quipped: “I’ve just had a chicken may sandwich and I’m heading for a curry after training as it’s the last treat I will have for weeks. Diet and nutrition as well as a hard time in the gym under Alex’s watchful eye and tough regime are what’s ahead for me.

“I think I was lucky to win. I’ll let you know in five weeks.”

Anyone who would like to know what the Trojans are all about and when the next taster session is can give Gary a call on 07429 137969. Alternatively drop into one of their training session at Pro-Life on a Tuesday evening from 7.30pm.


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The things a chief exec has to do –Gayle gets to find out what it is like in the huddle where players discuss strategy.

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Gayle, chief executive of Renfrewshire Sports Charity, is driving the charity and one of its aims to encourage sport by backing the Trojans for another year.

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Gayle catches up with head coach Gary McNey and Trojans Murray Hogg, Paddy Shields, Jason West and Joshua Polson on training night at Pro-Life as they celebrate the new sponsorship deal.

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Scottish arm wrestling champion Sean Paterson is a man on a mission – to win more titles and bring the British title back to his home town.

The unassuming sportsman already holds the Scottish title and is also the number 2 in Britain – but he wants to grab that British number one spot with both hands

He is already in training to defend his Scottish title and hopes to move up to number one in Britain this year.

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He knows it won’t be easy but is up for the challenge and is looking for some big-hearted businessman to come up with sponsorship to help him on his way.

Sean, 36, who lives in Kilpatrick Avenue in Paisley, is being backed by Renfrewshire Sport Charity in his bid and trains almost daily at the Pro-Life Fitness Centre which they run.

The charity has pledged sponsorship to help Sean achieve his goal but the successful Buddie is still looking for another major sponsor to help him out with costs for travelling and competing.

Sean says it’s tough to find sponsors as the sport –which is big in Poland, Russia, Eastern European countries and America – just doesn’t have the same support and high profile here.

Sean, who took up the sport four years ago, said: “It was great to lift the overall Scottish title and then come second in the British right and left arm 85 kilos.

“I would love to go on and win that one this year and keep my Scottish title so I really can’t let up on the training which is quite specialised.

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“When most people think about arm wrestling they think it all comes down to how strong you are or how strong your arms are. Grip strength and forearm power is needed, but technique plays a huge part as well.

“Big guys get beat by people like me – half their size – because their technique isn’t good enough.  I come to Pro-Life and do weights and bench presses, pulling exercises.

“Arm wrestlers need to do specific kinds of training workouts that can really help your skills and bring power into your arms.

“As far as I’m concerned bicep curls, wrist curls, grip work, static holds and speed work using power bands and table time are the most important exercises for any arm wrestler.

“I’ve developed a lot of my own training exercises and forearm routines and they seem to be working well for me.”

Gayle Brannigan, chief executive at RSC, said: “Sean has been part of the Pro-Life family for years and we are all delighted with his success and right behind him as he goes on to achieve even more.

“The charity strives to support Renfrewshire’s sporting stars and we will do whatever we can to help Sean out. I just hope someone else comes along too to join us in making sure a champion we should all be proud of has the backing he needs.”

Hundreds of Pro-Lifers have been queuing up to challenge good sport Sean including another Scottish hero – boxing champ Kris Carslaw – and some of the mighty Trojans American Football team.

And he will take them all on again later this year to raise money for charity.

If you can help Sean with sponsorship email

FASHIONISTAS will be painting the town red – and every other colour under the sun – this spring and summer, according to TV style expert Mark Heyes.

The Scots-born fashion guru to the stars is predicting everyone will be going for a splash of bright colours in their outfits this season.

That’s the message Mark will be bringing to shoppers at intu Braehead today and tomorrow (Saturday and Sunday) when he hosts the mall’s Let Your True Colours Shine fashions shows, in association with Hello! Fashion Monthly.


And Mark reckons that the explosion of colour in the fashion scene is a sign of a new confidence people have after several years of doom and gloom.
He says: “There’s been a lot of outfits featuring bright colours, like yellow, light blue and fuchsia pink appearing on the catwalks this year and they’re making their way into the High Street stores because there’s a demand for them.

“People are now far more confident about their lives and that means they’re more likely to splash out and wear bright colours. It’s an outward sign of how they feel about themselves.”
Mark was born in Houston, Renfrewshire, and is now based in London. Millions regularly see him almost every day on ITV1 and the fashion expert’s client list includes Lorraine Kelly, Cat Deeley and Lady Gaga.

He adds: “I definitely get the sense there’s a more uplifting mood out there and people seem to be feeling better about themselves.”
The free fashion shows, on a specially-built stage and catwalk in the central atrium are being held today at noon, 1.30pm, 2.30pm and 4pm. And tomorrow at 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm.
Catwalk stars of the future could also be spotted in the mall during the fashion shows, as scouts from Bookings Models agency will be out and about searching for new modelling talent among the shoppers.

Marketing manager for intu Braehead, Lydia Brown said: “We just love it when Mark comes up from London and lets us in on the trends over the next few months.
“He’s always spot on with his advice, which he’s happy to pass on to our shoppers.

“We’re expecting full houses at our series of fashion shows, so people should get here early and find out how they can let their true colours shine this spring and summer.”

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A WOMAN who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer ticked off one of her Bucket List wishes when she was given a pampering session at a top spa.

Gayle Chestnut McElhinney, 35, and a handful of friends were treated to free treatments at EVE Spa, at Paisley’s Lagoon Leisure Centre after bosses there heard that was one of the things Gayle wanted to do.

The mum, from Houston, in Renfrewshire has been told cancerous tumours have spread and there is nothing more docs can do to remove them, but she has recently started a new course of chemotherapy in a bid to shrink the tumours and give her more time.

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Now Gayle, who refused cancer treatment to look after her terminally ill son until he tragically passed away, aged 12, has created a Bucket List of dreams she would like to fulfill before she dies.

Gayle explained: “I just love to have a spa day with the girls and get pampered. It’s one of my favourite days out with my friends.

“My friends have been fantastic and I’d never have managed it without them.
“So this day out is as much for them as it is for me.

“I really enjoyed the Thermal Experience at EVE Spa and spending time relaxing with everyone.”

Gayle has a genetic condition called Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS) that highly increases the chances of having cancer.

She was diagnosed in 2008 with breast cancer and after a courageous fight, she beat the disease and entered remission.
However, in July 2012 her youngest son Kane, then aged ten, was diagnosed with liver cancer after inheriting the LFS gene. Following a brave 17-month battle with the disease, Kane passed away – just four days after his twelfth birthday.

During Kane’s fight Gayle was advised to undergo a double-mastectomy to help decrease her chances of the disease returning. She refused and used all her energy to care for Kane and enjoy every moment.

In June 2013, Gayle finally had the operation but just months later in November 2013 Gayle was told that tumours had spread to other parts of her body.
After receiving a terminal diagnosis shortly before Christmas, Gayle’s partner Robert decided it was about time they finally married. On February 3rd this year the couple tied the knot and the first wish of her Bucket List was achieved.

As well as a spa day with friends, Gayle’s bucket list includes seeing her other son, 17-year-old Daniel pass his driving test, to stay in a castle, go to Choccywoccydoodah designer chocolatier, one last family holiday, enjoy one last summer, have lots of garden parties, have a big charity event and get the chance to tour the Tunnock’s tea cake factory.

Lynne Dill, manager at EVE Spa said: “When we were contacted by one of Gayle’s friends, we had no hesitation in inviting them in for a few hours of luxury relaxation and spa treatments.
“After all that Gayle is going through and has gone through in the past few years, it’s the least we could do and I’m glad Gayle and her friends enjoyed themselves so much.”


Kilbarchan curried Fairtrade flavour at a special evening organised by the local Fairtrade group.

Around 30 people attended Bobbins tea room to enjoy a Fairtrade curry made by Chef Carole Seeth, who co-owns the premise.

Many of the Fairtrade groups have been celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight with events in their own towns and villages.


A lucky few even had a visit from Ismael Diaz Rivas, a Fairtrade coffee and honey farmer from Guatemala, who visited Renfrewshire for the first week of Fairtrade Fortnight.

Ismael even managed to squeeze in a trip to local beekeepers in Kilbarchan to find out what techniques they used to collect honey and tell his story of how the honey cooperative CIPAC formed in Guatemala.

Councillor Jim Sharkey, Chair of Renfrewshire Fairtrade Steering Group, said “It has been brilliant to see so many local community groups engaging with Fairtrade Fortnight. It is such an important cause and buying Fairtrade makes a real difference to the lives of Fairtrade farmers.


“Having Ismael here to talk to some of our community groups has been a real honour and it has been a great experience for everyone to hear firsthand how the work they do benefits Fairtrade farmers.”

Graham Batin, Chair of Kilbarchan Fairtrade Partnership, said: “The curry night was a great success and I know everyone really enjoyed it. It just goes to show there are so many foods than can be made using Fairtrade ingredients.

“Although Ismael never got to come along to our night, I know both the community groups and Ismael really enjoyed the visit to Renfrewshire. It has really inspired us to keep up the work we are doing for Fairtrade. We hope these events have helped to raise awareness of the importance of buying Fairtrade.

“We are very lucky to be able to work with local businesses like Bobbins and the Co-op in Kilbarchan who kindly donated the Fairtrade wine for the evening.”

For more information, visit


[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Last night over seven Cub Packs from across Paisley & District got together to compete to win the annual Trophy.

The girls and boys aged 8-10.5years turned out in force and it was the 18th Paisley (Coats Memorial) who won the prize for the second year in a row.


Commenting on the evening Assistant District Commissioner (Cubs), Gerry Green said:
“What a fantastic evening of having fun and trying to get as many strikes as possible.


“Seeing our girls and boys really getting excited about bowling was truly a sight to see. I am pleased we had great numbers at this District event.

“Well done to Coats Memorial Cub Pack for winning the trophy for the second year in a row.


“Cub Scouts numbers are on the rise, with more girls and boys aged 8-10.5years joining in the adventure. This is due to the excellent balanced programme we are providing.

“If you are interested in joining in the movement please email or visit our website”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

paisley pirates

In a night of pulsating, end to end ice hockey, Pirates claimed a draw against title challengers Edinburgh, and in doing so became the first visiting side to take a point away from the Murrayfield rink this season.

Both teams set out to attack from the start, and the visitors were first to get on the scoreboard in the 10th minute as Scott Cowan fired home unassisted. It got even better for Pirates after 18 minutes, as this time defender Chris Turley was up with the forwards to slip home a pass from Johnston to send his side in at the break with a 2-0 advantage.

paisley pirates

(Picture courtesy of Al Goold Photo )

The expected Edinburgh fightback was delayed, however, as with less than two minutes on the clock in the middle session a Martyn Guy shot defeated Mallinson in the home goal to put the visitors three ahead. This did spark off a fightback by the home side and within two minutes it was 3-2 as first Patterson, and then Hughes, put the home side right back in the game. The goals continued to flow and at the halfway point Liam Riddell rounded off a play with McCamley and Guy to put Pirates two ahead at 4-2. The title chasing Caps retaliated in fine style, however, and a three minute treble by the Hay brothers gave them a narrow 5-4 advantage at the second break.

It got darker for Pirates within seconds of the restart as Gautschi netted to give his side a two goal advantage, but the Paisley side weren’t finished yet, as with six minutes gone David Orr scored an unassisted marker to make it a one goal game. Edinburgh came back again, but after Langford had pulled off a great save to keep the deficit at one goal, the visitors immediately broke to the other end, and Cowan converted a Campbell pass to tie the scores two minutes later. The frenetic level of activity at both ends continued right to the end, however, with neither team able to get the game winning goal, in a match which was a tremendous advert for SNL hockey.

Third placed Pirates will now face Aberdeen Lynx in the Playoff quarter finals on a home and away basis, the first leg taking place on Saturday 21 March in the North East, with the return leg at the Braehead Arena on Sunday 29 March, in what will be an interesting tie, the Lynx being one of only two teams to have beaten Pirates in league action this season.