Hawkhead, Paisley News

265 residents in Renfrewshire have been reissued with postal voting papers for the forthcoming Scottish Parliamentary election after a printing error was discovered on the reverse of the peach coloured Regional List Ballot Paper.

scottish parliament


The issue does not affect any of the other 30,124 postal votes issued in the three constituencies in Renfrewshire.

New ballot papers are being delivered today (Wednesday April 27) to all 265 residents involved – just a day after the incorrect papers first arrived by post.

Voters have been reassured that even if they have already returned the ineligible voting paper, the correct replacement ballot paper would count for their vote instead.

All of the 265 residents live in the Renfrewshire North and West constituency.

The postal votes for that group of people were printed in the final run of postal ballot papers being issued to people who applied for postal votes.

The backs of those Regional Ballot papers were inadvertently printed with the same details for the constituency of Renfrewshire North and West rather than referring to the West Scotland Region.

Sandra Black, Regional Returning Officer, said:  “We apologise for any inconvenience caused but the problem has been identified and is being quickly resolved.

“We would also like to thank the residents who took the time to contact us and point out something was wrong.  

“This is a specific problem linked to the last batch of postal votes that was printed and involves only that group of 265 people.  Everyone involved has been written to and also given a number they can call if they have any further enquiries.

“We are doing everything possible to give people all the information and reassurance that they are entitled to and we can confirm that every one of them will have the chance to make their democratic choice.”

Coats Observatory will be the place to be on Monday 9 May to witness the rare astronomical event of the transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun. The event will take place between 1pm and 6pm and is FREE of charge. Entrance to Coats Observatory will be via Oakshaw Street West in Paisley.

Mercury - First Messenger image
Using special sun filters on the Grubb telescope housed at the Observatory, visitors will be able to witness this rare occurrence. Transits of Mercury are rare and only happen in either May or November when Mercury’s orbit is at its most extreme points. On Monday 9 May Mercury will appear as a small black dot as it slowly crosses the face of our parent star. This event will not be repeated until November 13 2032, although there will be a partial transit visible on November 11 2019 – the November dates will not be as favourable for observation as the Sun will be much lower. The next one to happen that falls in May is not until 2049!

John Pressly, Observatory Officer states ‘This really is a fantastic opportunity to witness an astronomical event which we will not see repeated for several years. Transits of the planets Mercury and Venus have been used by astronomers in the past to determine a number of factors such as the distance from the Earth to the Sun and the sizes of the planets. Whilst we will not be conducting any scientific studies during the event it will still be great be able to say that you witnessed the transit of Mercury for yourself at Coats Observatory.’

In the event of inclement weather, a ‘virtual’ version of the transit will be screened in the Planetarium in the Observatory.

Please note, it is very important that people do not look directly at the Sun with unfiltered equipment.


**CATS Award nominee 2015: Best Music and Children’s Shows
A funny, intimate and delightful dance theatre piece which takes young children on a visual and musical journey of discovery
For children aged 6 month – 4 years


Scottish Tour: 4 May – 4 June 2016

“This production goes a wonderfully imaginative extra mile in its mix of bouncy dance theatre, cunningly versatile design, live music and audience participation.” **** The Herald

Featuring rhythmical text, this interactive performance envelopes children in an imaginatively changing world. They can enjoy the visual, physical and musical energy of the show, identify with the emotions of the characters and even explore the set at the end. The performance is inspired by  Barrowland Ballet Artistic Director Natasha Gilmore’s personal experiences with her own children in terms of what they find funny and how they behave and move.


Poggle is the story of Vince. He wants to explore the forest, but is too scared to go on his own until he meets Poggle, a friendly creature, who takes him on an adventure where he discovers the forest and the magical musical tree. With live music, clapping rhythms and bubble popping throughout, children will enjoy a sense of discovery and accomplishment throughout this show as they interact with the characters.

Natasha Gilmore, Barrowland Ballet, Artistic Director of Barrowland Ballet and director of Poggle, said: “Poggle was inspired by my young children as I watched the way they explored and played in the world around them. The joy of discovery and accomplishment when new skills are found and obstacles overcome and the wonderment children find in the simplest things, like mud.”

Barrowland Ballet is one of Scotland’s most exciting and successful contemporary dance companies and is based in the East End of Glasgow. The company name reflects its unique mix of popular culture and high art. Its name, taken from Glasgow’s famous Ballroom, also shares its belief that dance is for everybody. The company repertoire is built around the artistic work of choreographer, Natasha Gilmore. The work is inspired by her personal experiences and its challenging themes are delivered with wit and humour. The insightful observations of human behaviour and relationships enable audiences to identify with the stories in a multitude of ways, as they resonate with their own experiences. Recent productions, Tiger and Tiger Tale (7+) have toured to great success with Tiger Tale performing at Imaginate and both Tiger and Tiger Tale were part of the Made in Scotland showcase 2014 and toured internationally in 2015. Barrowland Ballet believes dance theatre should be available for everyone and creates professional productions and participatory projects for and with a variety of people. The most recent work was The River, a Festival 2014 event which took place along the banks of the Clyde with a 150 strong cast of dancers, singers and musicians.

Macrobert arts centre is the arts centre for Stirling and the Forth Valley and a cultural hub for Scotland. With a vision to promote and develop participation in and enjoyment of the arts macrobert offers a huge variety of activities with over 400 live performances – drama, comedy, opera, dance, music, musical theatre and art exhibitions – alongside a varied Creative Learning programme throughout the year.The venue is also a producer, co-producer and instigator of new work for young audiences. www.macrobert.org

Twitter: @barrowlballet | #poggle | www.barrowlandballet.co.uk | www.facebook.com/Barrowland-Ballet-112636408818824/

Age guidance: 6 months – 4 year olds | Running time: 30 minutes plus playtime at the end


Touring dates 

Wed 4 May

Paisley Arts Centre, Witherspoon St, Paisley PA1 1UR

11am & 2pm


0300 3001210



Keen golfers will club together this weekend to raise money in support of Renfrewshire’s Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) group.


Elderslie residents Stephen Torrance and Andy Payne have arranged a golf day in memory of Vincent Torrance who took his own life in 2009, aged just 27.

The Vinny Torrance Invitational will see 80 players- playing in teams of four- take part in a Texas Scramble competition- with prizes for 1st and 2nd as well as four feature holes.

Elderslie Golf Club will host the event and have helped keep costs down by subsiding green fees for the tournament which has helped ensure a capacity attendance.

Local companies have also signed up to help with all 18 holes being sponsored on the day which will boost the fundraising total.

The previous hosting of the event raised more than £2500 which was donated to the SOBS group to allow the continuation of support for those who have been bereaved and those who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide.

Stephen said: “We are looking to raise awareness of depression and suicide and to let people know that it’s good to talk about these issues.

“The SOBS group are great as they give support to those directly affected by the loss of someone to suicide and they have a great team in Rosemary and Lisa.

“On the day Andy, Vincent’s best friend, and myself just want everyone to have fun. It’s a fun day and no doubt Vincent would’ve had a ball if he was involved.”

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall said: “The event is a fitting tribute paid by Stephen to his brother and a terrific way to raise money for a worthy cause.

“It is vital that the stigma around suicide is removed and those at risk feel comfortable to discuss what they are feeling. The SOBS group provide an excellent outlet for those bereaved by suicide to speak with people who have faced similar experiences to themselves.

“If you believe you recognise the signs of self harm or suicide, please try and help. It could make a huge difference.”

The SOBS group meets on the last Wednesday of every month at The Wynd Centre, 6 School Wynd, Paisley, Renfrewshire PA1 2DB, from 7pm-8:30pm.

Renfrewshire’s Choose Life team can be contacted via 0141 849 2200 or elizabeth.aitken@renfrewshire.gov.uk.

The SOBS national helpline can be reached on 0844 561 6855, experts at Breathing Space are available on 0800 838 587 and the number for The Samaritans is 116 123.

Ice hockey star Colin McMillan showed at the weekend that not only is he no slouch around an ice rink when playing for the Paisley Pirates and coaching Lanarkshire Lightning Junior Ice Hockey Club, he can also move pretty rapidly without the aid of his skates.



Fresh from celebrating the Pirates’ Scottish Cup win against Edinburgh only a week ago, Colin barely had time to come back down to earth again before heading off to London with his family to take part in the London Marathon on Sunday, where he was running in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, having recently found out that two of his friends were suffering from the condition.


“I had huge support from family and friends in terms of sponsorship,” he explained. “My original target was to raise £250, but at the moment it looks like the final figure might tip over the £1300 mark. I’m absolutely delighted with that, and want to thank everyone who took the time and trouble to support me, not just in financial terms, but just letting me know that they were thinking about me and the run ahead. It really makes a difference, particularly when you’re getting a bit tired, to know that so many people are rooting for you.”

Colin got round the 26.2 mile course in the highly creditable time of 3:58:52, although he expressed a little disappointment with his time. “It wasn’t a personal best, which I was hoping to achieve, but I was carrying a bit of a foot injury which certainly added a bit to my time. I suppose I’m satisfied with the time, I got round the course in less than four hours without mishap, and I’ve now got a target to aim for next time out. Most important of all, the Multiple Sclerosis Society will be £1200 better off and that’s the main thing.”

“It’s been a great break in London,” he went on. “My wife Rae and I came down a few days early to see some of the sights with our two kids and friends, and they were all there to catch me when I finished on Sunday. The atmosphere was something special, folk have been telling me they got glimpses of me on the TV, and it was just a great event to be part of. It’s been a great couple of weeks, but I think I might just take a week or two off now and give my aching feet time to recover!”

Thousands of food-lovers descended on Paisley as the town held its tastiest food and drink extravaganza yet.

Paisley Food Festival

Paisley Food Festival

The Paisley Food Festival – supporting the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 – got taste buds tingling with a global menu of street foods from as far flung as Mexico, Indian and Africa.

The town’s picturesque Abbey Close – featuring the magnificent 12th century Paisley Abbey and neo-classical Town Hall – saw more than 30 food vendors create a taste explosion of global cuisine for 12,000 people.

Foodies also got the chance to be put through their paces with celebrity chef Nick Nairn – who declared his backing for Paisley’s bid during two packed live cooking demos.

Kids didn’t miss out joining in the food fun – with hundreds taking part in pizza making, cupcake decorating and chocolate treat workshops.

Twinning the bill is Scotland’s biggest real ale festival – the Paisley Beer Festival – which saw record numbers attending this year.

Organisers CAMRA Renfrewshire put on more than 230 cask ales, with the addition of a wine bar and cafe-style foods also helping to boost popularity.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall said: “Paisley already has a great reputation for hosting some spectacular events. As momentum builds for Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 we are developing bigger and better events that will draw many more people into the town.

“The Paisley Food Festival attracted thousands of people – food lovers, families and people of all ages – who all enjoyed the great variety of global cuisines on offer.

“The festival ran alongside Scotland’s biggest real ale festival – the Paisley Beer Festival – and it was great to see the event become even more popular this year, with many people queuing to get into the event.

“Events like this are a great way to bring people in and show off everything Paisley has to offer as the town’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021 builds momentum.”

Paisley Food Festival is part of an exciting calendar of events for Renfrewshire that is expanding as momentum builds for the town’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.

Paisley’s culture bid is due to be lodged with the UK Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport in early 2017.

The bid aims to use Paisley’s unique collection of heritage and cultural assets to change the area’s future.

For more information, visit  www.paisley2021.co.uk or follow @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.


Due to popularity of the business, M8 driving school have taken on a new instructor.  Brian Ballantyne will be covering areas like Barrhead, Pollok, Neilston, Cardonald, Paisley. He has many years experience as a driving instructor and we’re happy to have him on board.


Whoosh! Bang! Kapow! Its time to grab those capes and warm up your super powers as FUNBOX returns to Paisley faster than a speeding bullet with their brand new show, SUPERHEROES!

Gary, Anya and Kevin are on a super quest to find their keys, open the locks and release the fun. Crime fighting Funster duo Fluffy and Flossie will be back to help us along the way and Bonzo will deliver his own brand of doggy justice! But who has taken their keys? What are the gang’s superpowers? And will Bonzo find pants that fit?!

FUNBOX is the brain child of Gary, Anya and Kevin (formerly of the Singing Kettle) who admit they were having far too much fun working together and entertaining families of Scotland and beyond to say goodbye. Gary remarked “We wanted to carry on, not just for us but kids who loved coming to see us and the parents and grandparents who wanted to take their children. It seemed like too important a thing to let go”.

When it was made clear that the Singing Kettle was not for sale the trio took their first steps into business. “We knew we could write songs, perform and make music, but none of us had any real experience of running a business. We just went into it head first.” says Kevin. “Our Pirates and Princesses tour was funded out of our own pockets and a Crowdfunding campaign that saw us raise over 20k in 4 weeks thanks to the support of our fans. We have been learning along the way which has been very hard work but so rewarding.”

FUNBOX offers the same traditional songs and silliness known and loved by many but with their own brand of manic humour with a modern twist, and due to popular demand and the success of their first tour Pirates and Princesses last year they have even had to add an extra show onto their Paisley dates. “We’ve been described as fresh and edgier than before and the whole family is getting involved. We had Mummy and Daddy superheroes and even Supergran herself was at our Glasgow SECC DVD recording back in February!” laughs Anya.

There’s favourite family singalongs like “The Quartermaster’s Store” and “Bunny Fou Fou”, brand new songs and silliness and even a chance or two to help on stage. SUPERHEROES is supersonic family fun and an exciting entertainment experience not to be missed. Remember to come dressed as a Superhero or make up your own!

Superheroes – Paisley Town Hall, Paisley. Sunday 8th May, 1pm/3.30pm.

Tickets on sale now!

Available from Ticketmaster and Paisley Town Hall www.boxoffice.renfrewshire.gov.uk or 0300 300 1210
For more information go to www.funbox.co.uk or find us on facebook and twitter.

William Phelps butchers are a family run business selling quality dry aged scotch beef pork and lamb.  They can be found at 41 Causeyside Street, Paisley or call 0141 889 6420.

william phelps butchers

The following specials are not to be missed:

round and square slice sausages are on special offer £1.98 lb.
£7.99 for a full lorne
Diced leg of scotch lamb is on offer £4.16 lb.
Support your local butcher by Wiliiam Phelps today.
Glasgow Airport

Thomson and First Choice increase capacity from Glasgow Airport and introduce new route to Cape Verde and Jamaica.

Glasgow Airport

Thomson and First Choice are today announcing increased capacity at Glasgow airport for their summer 2017 flying programme. This includes a new route to Sal, Cape Verde and a new seasonal route to Jamaica which gives greater flexibility to holidaymakers flying from Scotland.

The move to introduce new routes is part of the holiday company’s strategy to ensure customers across the UK can fly from their local airport and stay at the best hotels in some of the most exciting destinations. The new routes will go on sale today in line with the launch of summer 2017 holidays.

Customers travelling on the new route to Sal from Glasgow will now have access to some of Thomson and First Choice’s most popular flagship hotels, including Thomson’s 5T Sensimar Cabo Verde – which is new for 2016 – where guests can walk out of the pool and straight onto the beach. The hotel’s three a la carte restaurants, two pools and private beach area make for the perfect couples retreat.

The seasonal route to Jamaica will run from 22nd June to 13th July, coinciding with the school summer holidays. Those travelling on the new route can visit the 4Sun+ Premier Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort and Spa which sits on a huge stretch of beach and boasts four swimming pools, a total of nine restaurants and 12 bars, making it perfect for all members of the family.

Karen Switzer, Director of Aviation Planning for Thomson and First Choice, said: “Adding more capacity from Glasgow Airport with the introduction of a new route to Sal, Cape Verde, and a seasonal route to Jamaica demonstrates our commitment to the airport and the local area.

“Expanding access to our portfolio of destinations and hotels is a key part of our overall strategy and will enhance the holiday experience for our customers.”

Paul White, Business Development Manager at Glasgow Airport, said: “We’re very excited that Thomson will be launching Scotland’s first direct flight to Jamaica from Glasgow Airport next summer.  Jamaica is the perfect Caribbean retreat, boasting white sands, delicious food and beautiful natural surroundings including waterfalls, mountains and banana plantations.

“Cape Verde is also a fantastic sun destination and we are confident that both of these announcements will generate a great deal of interest amongst our customers.  We look forward to working in partnership with Thomson and First Choice to continue their growth at Glasgow Airport.”