Paisley was alive to the sound of music as students from its sister town of Fürth put on a special performance in Paisley Town Hall.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall with gifts from Alex Hamilton of Fürth Music School.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall with gifts from Alex Hamilton of Fürth Music School.

Fürth Music School and the Hallemann School in Germany visited Paisley as part of their tour of Scotland which sees them play in Edinburgh, Paisley and Glasgow.

Fürth Music School musicians

Fürth Music School musicians

Incorporating vocals, drums, guitars, flutes and keyboard, the band showcased their significant talents to Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall and members of the public in the Alexander Wilson Suite.

Performing traditional German music with a twist as well as classic songs such as ‘I Will Survive’ and ‘Rock Around the Clock’, the band played a lunchtime concert before moving on to perform for the veterans at Erskine in the afternoon.

The students also performed at Paisley Abbey during last Sunday’s service- making the most of their time in their twin town.

Paisley has been twinned with Fürth since 1969 and also has further twin town links with Gladsaxe in Denmark.

Provost Hall said: “I am delighted to further our international links by welcoming the students from Fürth to Paisley.

“Paisley has a strong tradition in producing talented musicians and it is clear that our sister town follows the same path after listening to their fantastic performance.

“As our bid for UK City of Culture 2021 continues to gather pace, our town twinning links will be an important part of illustrating our culture and we will continue to build on the strong relationship we have developed with Fürth.”

You can learn more about Paisley’s bid for UK City of Culture 2021, and how you can help support the bid, by visiting www.Paisley2021.co.uk, liking /Paisley2021 on Facebook or following @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram

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Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, has questioned the newly appointed Minister for Welfare
Delivery, Caroline Nokes MP, on the effects of the new single-tier state pension on gender equality.

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Gavin and the Scottish National Party have campaigned relentlessly on the changes to the state pension age together with the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign group. In Women and Equalities questions
last week, Gavin once again highlighted this issue of pension inequality.

Thousands of women in Renfrewshire have had their state pension age increased with very little warning causing serious damage to their finances and future plans. However, the rules regarding the newly introduced single-tier state pension are also unfair on women. The new state pension will mean 350,000 women born between 1951 and 1953 retire on the old system, just before the new proposals come into force, whereas a man born on the same day will retire slightly later but receive a pension under the new arrangements.

Gavin said: “I was glad to be able to raise this issue in Parliament recently. The inequality caused by the changes to the state pension will only add to the unfairness experienced by thousands of women born in the 1950s. “I took the opportunity to question the newly appointed Minister on whether she agrees that a pensions commission must urgently be established to end further gender inequalities. We need to ensure that we get a fair universal
pensions system where pensioners are able to have dignity in their retirement.”

The popular Fire Engine Rally returns to Johnstone on Saturday 13th August.

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Once again, big crowds are expected to descend on the town’s Houston Square for an afternoon of family fun. Fire engines and other emergency vehicles from across the ages will gather in the town centre, with the day forming part of the calendar of events taking place across Renfrewshire as part of the Paisley 2021 bid for UK City of Culture.

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Starting at 11am, the day will begin with a parade of vintage fire engines from Johnstone Fire Station, down Thorn Brae, to Houston Square. The parade is expected to take half an hour and all the vehicles will be on display in Houston Square for the rest of the day.

The event is being hosted by Renfrewshire Council in partnership with the Fire Heritage Trust and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be putting on a number of dramatic demonstrations during the day, showing the public how they go about responding to fires and accidents. Other entertainment will be provided by regular falconry displays throughout the day, music from a DJ and a bouncy castle.

Renfrewshire’s Provost, Anne Hall, will be in attendance on the day and may even get involved in the fire rescue demonstrations.

She said: “This will be the third time Johnstone has hosted the Fire Engine Rally and it’s proving to be an extremely popular event with the local community.

“It’s a great event which provides fun for families while also delivering important safety messages and it provides a boost for local businesses in the town centre too. It’s further evidence of the range of cultural events which take place across Renfrewshire and shows the region-wide support for our Paisley 2021 bid for UK City of Culture.”

The Paisley 2021 bid aims to transform the town and Renfrewshire’s future by using its unique cultural and heritage offering as the home of the Paisley Pattern and one-time centre of the global textile industry.

Bids are expected to be lodged with the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport in Spring 2017.

For more information on Paisley 2021, visit  www.paisley2021.co.uk, like /Paisley2021 on Facebook or follow @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.

July 26th marks the beginning of PAGGS – international scouting camp taking place every other year. PAGGS is an international twin town cooperation involving Guides, Scouts & Boys and Girls Brigades aiming at increasing understanding and friendship. It started as a leader‘s conference in 1970 between five twin towns – Paisley (Scotland), Apeldoorn (The Netherlands), Gagny (France), Gladsaxe (Denmark) ad Sutton (England). The name of the conference came from the first letters of the towns hosting it. Being a huge success, the concept expanded and became a camp involving not only the leaders but the young scouts as well. Even though a number of other towns joined this group over time, the original name of PAGGS still sticks.

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This year‘s event takes place in Sutton, England and is on until the 4th of August. Paisley & District Scouts and Guides are sending a delegation of around 90 people from Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire. Before the trip, twins Emily & Lucy, both scouts aged 11 years, said: “We are looking forward to making new friends with Scouts & Guides from across Europe. We have heard our older friends talk about PAGGS and the fun they had. This year we will be able to try new activities and learn new things whilst having fun.”

Paisley & District Commissioner Rob Murray said: “We are delighted to have our delegation heading to PAGGS yet again. It is a great pleasure and honour being a part of this life-changing adventure. We will be joining our international friends for sharing experiences, making friends and most importantly, having fun.”

Keep updated and follow this year’s PAGGS adventures here.

Large crowds lined the High Street and County Square to watch pipers and drummers from across Renfrewshire, Scotland and further afield compete to be named 2016 pipe band champions. More than 20 bands put on more than 40 performances for thousands of spectators.

Videos taken by Peter Greenwood on behalf of Paisley.org.uk

Paisley was alive with the sound of pipes and drums on Saturday (23 July) as the town hosted its seventh annual Pipe Band Championships.

Paisley Piper catches a Pokomon. Ruari Buchan a young piper withe the Johnstone Pipe Band got lucky in Paisley just before performing for the judges at the Paisley Pipe Band Championship. While the others were getting their pipes tuned Ruari had a quick check and bagged himself a Pokomon. Pic by Kieran Chambers

Paisley Piper catches a Pokomon.
Ruari Buchan a young piper withe the Johnstone Pipe Band got lucky in Paisley just before performing for the judges at the Paisley Pipe Band Championship. While the others were getting their pipes tuned Ruari had a quick check and bagged himself a Pokomon.
Pic by Kieran Chambers

Bumper crowds lined the High Street and County Square to watch pipers and drummers from across Renfrewshire, Scotland and further afield compete to be named champions. More than 20 bands put on more than 40 performances for thousands of spectators.

The successful event forms part of the exciting and expanding calendar of cultural events across Renfrewshire which form part of Paisley’s bid to be named UK City of Culture in 2021.

Each band marched from High Street, to the final tuning area at the Cenotaph, before making their way to the main arena in County Square. Here, they performed to a panel of judges from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.

The standard of competition was extremely high, with the winners in each category shown here

The winning bands were presented with their trophies by chieftain of the event, Renfrewshire’s Depute Provost John Caldwell. He said: “It was an honour to be able to present the bands with their recognition for a great day’s entertainment.

“Once again, Paisley town centre provided a fantastic backdrop for the pipers, drummers and large crowds who came to experience the sounds and spectacle of the Paisley Pipe Band Championships. This is an ever popular event which attracts people from all over the UK to the town, bringing great benefits to our communities and businesses.”

During the event, people were able to submit their stories on what makes Paisley and Renfrewshire great as part of the What’s Our Story? consultation. The campaign aims to capture the everyday moments and tales that make the area one of Britain’s most exciting and diverse to live in.

People can also submit their stories online using #MyStoryMyTown or at  www.whatsourstory.co.uk.

The Paisley 2021 bid aims to transform the town and Renfrewshire’s future by using its unique cultural and heritage offering as the home of the Paisley Pattern and one-time centre of the global textile industry.

Bids are expected to be lodged with the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport in Spring 2017.

For more information on Paisley 2021, visit  www.paisley2021.co.uk, like /Paisley2021 on Facebook or follow @Paisley2021 on Twitter and Instagram.

Now in its seventh year, Paisley Pipe Band Championships will see some of the top pipe bands from Scotland and beyond compete in the heart of the historic town centre – and the Johnstone Pipe Band were crowned winners.

This year’s chieftain is Renfrewshire Depute Provost John Caldwell.

Bands will marched down the High Street, through the final tuning area at The Cenotaph, to the competition arena in County Square.

The massed bands and presentation of prizes was in County Square at 5.30pm.

The event is run by Renfrewshire Council and is in partnership with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Glasgow and West of Scotland Branch.

Competition judges are Donald McPhee, Ronnie McShannon (piping), Arthur Cook (drumming) and James Campbell (ensemble).

All photographs and video created for paisley.org.uk by Cameron Pollock

OLIVER McCamon is planning to swim the Irish Sea…but he won’t even leave Paisley.

The 28-year-old leisure attendant will swim the equivalent of 21 miles between Scotland and Ireland in the pool where he works, at The Lagoon leisure centre, in a bid to raise money for Yorkhill Children’s Hospital.

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Oliver McCamon in Paisley’s Lagoon swimming pool

Oliver, from Paisley will swim 1344 lengths in a marathon 15-hour session in the pool on Friday, July 29.

He decided to raise money for Yorkhill after both his children, Brayden, seven and four-year-old Mia had been treated there and this was a way of saying thanks to the dedicated staff at the well-known children’s hospital.
Oliver said: “I used to swim competitively when I was younger and I fancied setting myself a long-distance swimming challenge.
“After I’d done that I then had to decide which charity to raise money for by doing the swim.
“Fortunately, there was nothing seriously wrong with Brayden and Mia when they were at Yorkhill, but they got the best of care.”

Oliver has been training three times a week since last December and he’s confident he will complete his challenge.
He added: “I chose the distance between Scotland and Ireland because it’s an outdoor swim I’d like to do one day.
“I’ve been collecting sponsorship and have a JustGiving Page for the challenge, which I hope to raise about £2000 with.”

Any wishing to support Oliver can log on to  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oliver-mccamon<https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oliver-mccamon> to make a donation to his fundraising effort.

Renfrewshire Carers Centre offers a wide range of social and leisure activities throughout the year and one of the most popular ones amongst the carers is the Carers Choir.

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The Carers Choir started in 2013 as a short project to give carers the opportunity to come together and perform at the Annual General Meeting of Renfrewshire Carers Centre. The first performance was so successful that the carers decided to meet every week to practice and invite new members along.
The Choir now consists of carers of different age and gender:  18 to 80+ and all the carers say it gives them a sense of community and togetherness, and also breaks down age barriers between young and older carers.

Lorraine MacKenzie-Leigh, who is a carer and a member of the choir said:

“Singing with the choir helps me in many ways – it helps me feel happy, provides company, gives me a break from my caring responsibilities and, being with other carers, listening to how they deal with life’s issues, helps me learn more about coping mechanisms. Singing lights my mood, makes me happy and is enjoyable. The carers Centre provides practical support by providing advice and training sessions, which help me to carry out my caring duties and look after myself too. The Centre staff also provides emotional support by listening to me when I have a problem or providing a “shoulder to cry on” when I need. I don’t know what I’d do without the Centre, the support group or the choir – they mean so much to me and I miss them all if I cant attend.”

Another carer, Margaret Nilsson, said the following:

“The Choir gives me a break from my caring role, it gives me sense of belonging, it has helped me gain confidence and self-belief. Singing lifts my spirit and makes me feel happy. I have used many of the projects within the Centre to help me in my caring role. All the staff are wonderful and so caring, it has been life saver for me. I enjoy performing with the choir and bringing music to so many people’s lives.”

The Choir has made a huge contribution in breaking down stigmas and stereotypes. It helps boost confidence levels, build new skills and more importantly, give the carers time to have fun and to socialise – and gives people a life outside of caring. Some carers have also reported health benefits from the Choir- improved asthma and reduced stress levels.

Choir’s leader Kirsty Duncan said:

“Since starting the choir in 2013, I have noticed how coming together to sing each week has improved members’ health, confidence and singing! We have now a real community who look after each other and enjoy performing together. I am proud of them”.

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the Choir perform at Carers Centre events like carers Christmas Lunch as well as singing to local Day Centres and Care Homes. They also do some raising awareness sessions on behalf of the Carers Centre by singing in shopping Centres and at various information days.

For example, during the Choir’s performance at Intu Braehead Shopping Centre during Carers Week, the Choir raised an amazing £280.35

One of the proudest moments in the life of the Choir was when they won the award for Inspiration from Scotland Sings in 2015. Next performance of the carers’ Choir will take part during the 20th Anniversary celebration in August.

THREE past winners of the Paisley 10k Race won’t be able to make the popular run this year.

From left, Callum Hawkins, Tsegai Tewelde and Derek Hawkins

From left, Callum Hawkins, Tsegai Tewelde and Derek Hawkins

Instead, on the same day runners will be pounding along the town’s High Street, the trio will be racing along the roads of Rio de Janeiro competing in the Olympic Games marathon.

Brothers Callum and Derek Hawkins, from Elderslie, along with Glasgow-based Tsegai Tewelde are regular competitors in the Paisley 10k and were the first Great Britain athletes to be selected to represent their country in this year’s Olympic Games.

All three have previously won the Paisley 10k Race – Tsegai in 2010, Derek in 2012 and Callum in 2014 and 2015 – may well have taken part in this year’s event if they hadn’t been selected for the Olympics.

The Paisley 10k Race and Fun Run, on Sunday August 21, is organised by Renfrewshire Leisure in conjunction with Renfrewshire Council.

Callum said: “It’s been a long, hard road getting to compete in the Olympic Games and it’s even longer from Paisley Cross to the Copacabana, in Rio!
“I’ve always enjoyed the competing in the Paisley 10k and it’s been an important part of my training schedule over the years.”

Derek added: “Competing in the Olympics is the pinnacle of our athletics careers so far.
“The Paisley 10k is a good race to be involved with and I’d encourage people to take part.
“I’m not saying that if you do the Paisley 10k you’ll get to the Olympics, but you never know if some young runner taking part in this year’s Paisley 10k will end up competing in the Olympics in years to come.”

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure said: “It’s ironic that three athletes who have previously won the Paisley 10k will be running the marathon in the 2016 Olympics on the exact same day as our race is taking place this year.
“We’re proud of what Callum, Derek and Tsegai have achieved. We’ll be rooting for them and have one eye on the TV during our race day to see how they get on in the Olympic marathon.”
Joyce added: “There’s still time for both competitive athletes and fun runners to sign up for our big day.
“Last year we attracted almost 2000 runners many of them raising money for charities and good causes.”

This year’s Paisley 10k and Fun Run is sponsored by Paisley First and Decathlon and for the second year, Macmillan Cancer Support is the Paisley 10k Race official charity partner.

You can register for the race by logging on to  www.renfrewshireleisure.com by telephoning 0141 842 3000 or picking up an entry form from any Renfrewshire Leisure venue.