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Monte Carlo Classic Rally

The centre of Paisley will be lively tomorrow night as the town waves off the cars and crews in this year’s start of the 2018 historic rally run to Monte Carlo.

But for 10 year old Primary 6 pupil Emilia Kozlowska, of St John Ogilvie Primary School in Paisley, it’ll be a really special occasion. She won a Renfrewshire-wide competition for a pupil to design the flag to be used to wave off the drivers and her winning flag will be the centrepiece of the start outside Paisley Abbey at 6pm.

It’s 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.

Around 70 cars are expected to leave the start ramp – the largest number of entries so far with the first 24 of them setting off for the 1500-mile trip to the South of France.

There are 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.

Last 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 pyrotechnics…..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 a preview of the event and looking over some of the entries, Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming the Monte Carlo Classic Rally back to Paisley for a fifth year – the sight of the cars gathered outside Paisley Abbey always makes a fantastic spectacle, and brings a great turnout.

“This is the first event in Renfrewshire’s 2018 major events programme, which aims to bring footfall into our town centres and showcase our unique attractions to visitors.

“Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 had a hugely positive impact on the town’s profile and reputation and we will build on that with another great year of major events.”

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: “Paisley’s mid-winter carnival – the Monte Carlo Rally Start – is back for a record fifth time with a record number of cars heading for the sunshine. It’s acknowledged to be the best of all the rally starts around Europe. Be part of the excitement by coming along to cheer them on their way on Wednesday evening. Share the magic of the Monte.”

Among the entrants who’ll be heading for Monte Carlo in the Historique Class and already in Paisley, are the French crew of Gerard Thill and Colette Roubaud. Their superb red 1971 Saab 96 V4 comes from Trollhattan in Sweden and was originally owned by an engineer who worked at the Saab factory. Gerard and Colette will be taking part in their ninth Historique Monte but it’s the first time they’ve started from Scotland. Previously they’ve set off from Reims, Bad Homburg, Monaco, Oslo, Barcelona and Marrakech.

It’s a slightly closer-to-home start for the three-man Angus-based crew of David Tindal, Alan Falconer and Stephen Woods who decided only recently they’d like to do the event. Fortunately David’s 18-year-old son just happened to have a 1956 Ford Prefect which he was working on in his garage. They rushed to complete the job and they’ll be competing in the Classique group under the team name ‘Kilts to Carlo’ to raise funds for Prostate Scotland.

Also taking on the challenge is husband and wife team Jim and Norma Watson from Dunfermline who are MG fans and have owned a number of different models over the years. They bought their current MGB GT just to take part in the

Classique event. Although both now retired, they are not taking it easy. When not rallying they sail and are currently restoring a wooden sailing yacht.

From Troon, Craig McGibbon has entered his Volvo 122S for the second time in the Historique category but this time he has a very experienced navigator in Karsten Brown sitting alongside. Before retirement they were both highly-trained professional drivers and are looking forward to showing the others how it’s done.

David Glen and Andrew Sturgess from Glasgow are a well-established crew who are competing in their 5th Monte. Their car is a rare 1978 Escort RS 2000 with equally rare X pack modifications. David and Andrew managed to finish the rally last year despite having a ‘coming together’ with an Alfa Romeo en route, but it is now back to its original condition and they are raring to go.

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. Families are encouraged to come along from 3pm – Paisley Town Hall will host a giant Scalextric set, a Sega Rally arcade machine, children’s workshops, face painting and refreshments for those wanting to gear themselves up before the send-off at 6pm.


More information can be found at www.monte.scot

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Book a fun time in your local library

LEISURE boss Joyce McKellar wants to put the fun into going to local community libraries.
The chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure says she aims to dispel the myth that libraries are dull and staff are continually telling people: “Shhh…keep quiet.”

Joyce was speaking after two libraries in Paisley – Foxbar and Glenburn – re-opened after a £65,000 refurbishment, which is part of a Renfrewshire Council £3 million capital investment in community facilities.

She said: “We’re creating libraries that are much more than just a place where you borrow books and then head out again.

“We’ve made libraries a brighter, vibrant, fun and exciting environment to come to and enjoy yourself.
“Renfrewshire is one if the few places in Scotland investing in our community libraries making them more modern and inviting.”

“It’s all about enjoying your local library as they provide something for everyone. We’ve created dedicated areas for people to have more privacy when they’re using our computers and other IT equipment and areas designed specifically for young people.”

The recent upgrade programme to the Foxbar and Glenburn libraries, which are operated by Renfrewshire Leisure, was delivered by the local authority.

The layout at Glenburn library has been reconfigured to create an improved space for children and young people as well as adult users.

The reception area has been renewed along with furniture, shelving and stands being replaced.  New seating areas have been created to allow library users to read or study in comfort within the new space.

At Foxbar Library, the layout has also been reconfigured with a complete fit-out of a new reception area, furniture, shelving and stands.

And new modern digital learning suites have been created at both Foxbar and Glenburn.
Joyce added: “Our libraries strive to inspire imagination, learning, creativity and social interaction.
“They offer a wide range of activities, including group sessions and individual IT support.

“These upgrades will enhance the services we are able to provide, including enclosed digital learning suites, which allow us to support training and activities such as Code Clubs, as well as a flexible study space for users.”

Renfrewshire Libraries sees around 800,000 users per year, with 32,000 children and adults attending Bookbug sessions and 138,000 individual digital support sessions.

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Annual memorial service held for those lost to suicide

Those lost to suicide were commemorated at a special ceremony at Renfrewshire House yesterday (Thursday 25 January).

Renfrewshire support group Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) hosted the annual service at the memorial tree which resides in the council grounds in Paisley.

SOBS Memorial tree 25.1.18

The service was attended by Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron, Reverend Alan Birss, Minister of Paisley Abbey, and Father John Eagers on behalf of the Diocese of Paisley, as well as members of the local community.

Reverend Birss and Father Eagers led a series of short readings, followed by a procession to the memorial tree at which Provost Cameron laid a wreath of remembrance.

Community members were then able to place a purple heart on the tree to commemorate the loved one they have lost.

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

Provost Cameron said: “This service is an opportunity for those who have lost a loved one to come together and remember them – and the memorial tree also provides a place for them to visit throughout the year.

SOBS Memorial tree 25.1.18

“It is important that we offer the correct support to friends and family who have been affected by this issue and we must ensure that those who are dealing with suicidal thoughts are aware of the help that is available.

“I encourage anyone who is dealing with the heartache of losing a loved one to seek the help that is on offer – such as the local SOBS group or the Choose Life team.”

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

SOBS Memorial tree 25.1.18

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

Rosemary Mullan, Choose Life Coordinator, said: “Our Renfrewshire SOBS group is there to prevent those bereaved by suicide from feeling isolated and alone with their grief.

“Our monthly meetings are friendly and informal and offer a safe place for people to share their experiences of loss. You can tell your story, or just listen to others’ experiences and our members say that this helps them to feel understood and supported.

“I would urge anyone grieving alone to consider coming along to our group and see if it helps to ease some of your heartache.”

Those unable to attend the service can still place a purple heart on the memorial tree – and these can be collected at the Customer Service Centre at Renfrewshire House.

The SOBS group meets on the last Wednesday of every month at Johnstone Day Care Centre, 21 Walkinshaw St, Johnstone, PA5 8AF, from 7pm-8:30pm, and new members are always welcome.

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

If you are dealing with suicidal thoughts, or you know someone that might be, then please call one of the helpline numbers: Samaritan’s 116 123, Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87, RAMH First Crisis 0141 849 90 90 or 0500 829 093. If you are struggling to cope with the loss of a loved one to suicide you can call the SOBS helpline on 03001115065.

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Iconic Monarch of the Glen painting taken to school for pupils to see

ONE of Scotland’s most iconic paintings has been taken to a primary school so youngsters could get a close-up view of the artwork.

Shortly before The Monarch of the Glen (c.1851) by Sir Edwin Landseer went on display at Paisley Museum, Primary Six and Seven pupils at Arkleston Primary, in Renfrew got a sneak preview of the painting and spoke about it with staff from the National Galleries of Scotland.

The painting was brought to the school in a large van, which parked in the playground. Local police officers and other security staff were on hand to look after the valuable piece of art.

The painting was bought for the nation for £4 million from drinks giant Diageo last year, after a four-month fundraising campaign supported by the National Lottery, Art Fund, the Scottish Government, private trusts and public donations. Diageo had agreed to sell the famous painting for half the market value.

The painting is an iconic image associated with Scotland and Paisley is only one of four venues in the country chosen by the National Galleries of Scotland for it to go on show. People can view The Monarch of the Glen for free at Paisley Museum from until March 11.

Carolyn Crawford, head teacher at Arkleston Primary said: “We were lucky enough to be part of a very unique experience, when The Monarch of the Glen came to visit us.

“It was an honour and an experience I’m sure the children and adults will not forget.

“Pupils were impressed with the painting and even a little overwhelmed by the stature of the stag and this prompted some great discussion.

“We emphasise the importance of being creative at Arkleston and it’s one of the character strengths that we teach our children.

“Being creative allows you to see things differently, a skill which we hope all our children will put to good use in their lives.”

Joyce McKellar, chief executive of Renfrewshire Leisure, who operates Paisley Museum, said: “It was a great idea to take the painting to a local school so pupils could see such an iconic painting close up and then discus what it means to them.

“Now everyone can see the Monarch of the Glen, at Paisley Museum and it’s a great coup for Paisley to have been chosen as one of four places in Scotland to display the impressive painting.”

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It’ll be all in a day’s work for Renfrewshire’s Provost

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron is calling on local businesses to sign her up for a day’s work, all in the name of charity.

Aiming to raise as much money as possible during her time in office, Provost Cameron is offering her time to any organisation in Renfrewshire who wishes to bring her into their team for a day.

All the money raised will go towards the Provost’s chosen charity for 2018 which is MND Scotland, who provide care and support to people affected by Motor Neurone Disease as well as funding research into finding a cure.

Provost Cameron said: “I’m always up for a challenge and I’m looking forward to getting out to our local businesses and seeing the fantastic work they do first hand.

“The care and support that MND Scotland do for those who are diagnosed with the illness and their families is indescribable and I’m committed to helping them in any way I can.

“So I’m asking any Renfrewshire business who wishes to do something for the benefit of charity to get in touch and invite me along for a day.”

The Provost will be supporting two other charities during her time in office with Renfrewshire’s two hospices, St Vincent’s and ACCORD, being the beneficiaries in the following two years.

Businesses are asked to make a minimum donation of £200 for the Provost’s time and for their generosity, they will receive publicity in the local media, coverage on the council’s social media channels and on the Council website.

For further information or to register your interest, please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/provostcharity.

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Year of Young People ambassadors help shape the ‘once in a life time’ year ahead

Renfrewshire’s ambassadors for the Year of Young People have met with the Council to discuss what shape the ‘once in a life time’ year ahead will take.

This year has been designated as a 12 month celebration of young people and aims to inspire Scotland through celebrating their achievements.

There are more than 200 young ambassadors who are representing every local authority across Scotland, including ten in Renfrewshire.

Their role is to build awareness of YoYP 2018 activity so their communities know what’s happening.

Ahead of a year of youth led events, the ambassadors  met with Renfrewshire Council’s Youth Services, Council Leader Iain Nicolson and Convener of Education and Children’s Services, Councillor Jim Paterson.

Cllr Paterson said: “We are delighted to meet with some of the young ambassadors and establish links with them to ensure they have a strong local voice.

“There is an incredibly exciting year ahead of us and we want them to be able to help inform how the Year of Young People 2018 will look in Renfrewshire and have them tell us is in their words what they would like to do. “

Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It’s vital that our young people are listened to as they have creative ideas on how to improve their own lives.

“In return we have asked what support and training we can offer them and offered the opportunity to meet groups such as Renfrewshire Youth Voice.”

A number of the ambassadors including Olivia Galbraith, Lauren McEwan, Cara Brown, Rebecca Adams, Sean Sweeney and Angus Collingridge-Watt attended the meeting and also met with Youth Commission group members.

Lauren McEwan, 17, from Paisley Grammar School said: “This is the first time everybody has come together in Renfrewshire and it’s great to meet everyone and share ideas.

“We are excited to work together to bring a great Year of Young People and make it as good as it can be.”

To get involved with the Year of Young People 2018 go to young.scot/YOYP2018

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Street lighting overhaul in Renfrewshire set to deliver £1.3million savings

An £11million investment in street lighting in Renfrewshire is set to deliver an annual saving of £1.3million in reduced energy, carbon consumption and maintenance costs.

More than 30,000 street lights have been converted from sodium lanterns to more energy efficient LED lanterns, which have a longer lifespan of up to 20 years and lower carbon output.

The changes are on course to bring a significant annual saving which will meet the target agreed in Renfrewshire’s Street Lighting Improvement Strategy.

The new lanterns are already delivering a reduction in street light electricity and carbon consumption of 64%, which is contributing to an 8% reduction in the Council’s overall carbon consumption.

The conversion has also removed the risk of the council being unable to source sodium lights after manufacture of components ceased during 2017, with the production of lamps set to end in 2020 as part of the European Union Energy Saving Directive.

Two independent audits have been carried out to assess the quality of work and the levels of lighting, with the results showing they greatly exceed the British minimum standard required.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Infrastructure, Land and Environment Policy Board, said: “We have made a significant investment in the street lighting across Renfrewshire to ensure that the streets are safe for our communities, while also achieving a significant reduction in our carbon consumption.

“The new lights will help the Council make a significant saving which can be reinvested in other areas while still providing high quality street lighting across the area.

“The independent audits which have taken place show that the lighting levels greatly exceed the British minimum but we can assure residents that we will carry out any corrective works which are needed should they feel their street has an issue and they should report these via our website.”

The programme is scheduled to be 97% complete by February 2018, with further remedial works to be completed in early in the year.

For further information visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/LEDlights

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Service pays tribute to Holocaust Memorial Day

Pupils from schools in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire joined together to mark Holocaust Memorial Day with a special service at St Ninian’s High School.

Members of the community were invited to pay their respects to those lost during the Holocaust, and all subsequent genocides since, ahead of the national day on Saturday 27 January.

The national theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘The Power of Words’, and focuses on the propaganda utilised during the Holocaust and how it can relate to the words that are used today.

Guests were welcomed to the event with performances by the Renfrewshire Council Traditional Musicians and the East Renfrewshire Schools Senior String Orchestra.

Dr Elwira Grossman, Lecturer at University of Glasgow, was invited to speak at the service and outlined the story of Janusz Korczak and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto Orphanage, where Janusz refused the offer of safety and remained with the children as they were sent to Treblinka extermination camp.

Pupils from Linwood High gave a moving performance around the theme by using quotes from the past through to the present to show the influence that words can have in framing people’s views.

Barrhead High School pupil Kirsty Robson, spoke of her experience as a Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassador and how she is helping to educate her peers on what happened during the Holocaust and what can be learned from it.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Lorraine Cameron, who gave the Vote of Thanks, said: “It is vital that we remember the millions who have lost their lives through the Holocaust, and other genocides since, as well as the millions who have suffered through persecution.

“This service not only gives the community a chance to pay their respects, it also ensures our school children learn about the horrific events of the past and the pupils involved put on fantastic, moving performances.

“We will continue to honour those who have been lost and I would encourage everyone to pay their respects on Saturday when Holocaust Memorial Day takes place.”

For further information on Holocaust Memorial Day, visit www.hmd.org.uk.

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Scots swimmers urged to take the plunge for charity

SCOTS are being urged to sign up to Swimathon, the world’s biggest annual fundraising swim, to raise money for two great causes, Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.  


Swimmers of all ages and abilities are being invited to take part in the annual sponsored event in poolsacross the country and help raise money for both charities.


This year, there are lots of ways to take part in Swimathon. 


The big Swimathon weekend takes place from Friday, April 27 to Sunday, April 29. Participants can choose individual challenges of 400m, 1.5k, 2.5k or 5k or team distances of 1.5k or 5k.


There’s also the opportunity to take part in ‘MySwimathon’, where participants can complete one of the individual challenges or set their own distance at any time from April 20 – May 6.


Swimathon started in 1988 and since then more than 700,000 participants have dived into 1,000 pools across the UK and raised over £48 million for different charities.


Olympic gold-medallist and Swimathon President Duncan Goodhew said: “It has been a real joy to see Swimathon develop into the great event it is today, and raise so much money for so many worthwhile charities. Swimathon really gives people a chance to get active with friends and family, whilst doing some good at the same time. I am so proud that Swimathon gives so many people the chance to enjoy the water.”


Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie are the official charity partners of Swimathon 2018.


Marie Curie is the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness. The charity helps people living with a terminal illness and their families make the most of the time they have together by providing hands-on nursing care and expert hospice care, emotional support, research and guidance to improve the way care is provided in the UK.  Last year, Marie Curie cared for and supported over 50,000 people affected by terminal illnesses across the UK.

Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading charity dedicated to to saving lives through research. It supports the work of scientists, doctors and nurses who are dedicated to beating cancer by understanding its causes and finding new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent the disease.

Carolyn Snedden, Marie Curie’s Fundraising Manager for Scotland, said: “Since Marie Curie first became a partner of Swimathon we have recruited over 150,000 swimmers and raised £12 million, which has enabled us to provide care and support to more people living with any terminal illness such as dementia, motor neurone disease or Parkinson’s disease – at the time when they need it most. We’re hoping people across Scotland are as excited as us about this year’s Swimathon and will join us by taking the plunge and signing up for what will be another great challenge.”


Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Scotland said: “Everyone can get involved Swimathon, whether you are the next Duncan Goodhew or a complete land lubber.We are encouraging as many people to sign up as possible.


“Swimming is a great way to keep active, which can help reduce the risk of three different types of cancer, heart disease and stroke. And being more active can help people maintain a healthy weight, which in turn can help reduce the risk of 13 different types of cancer.”


For more information and to sign up now, visit www.Swimathon.org.

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Derek Provan appointed CEO of AGS Airports and MD of Glasgow Airport

AGS Airports Ltd, which owns Aberdeen International, Glasgow and Southampton airports, has today (Monday 22 January 2018) confirmed that Derek Provan will succeed Amanda McMillan as both Chief Executive Officer of AGS and Managing Director of Glasgow Airport.

Heathrow, Derek Provan, Chief Operating Officer, Heathrow Airport Limited, Nov 2017.

Born in Glasgow, Derek has over 20 years of experience in aviation and joins AGS from Heathrow, Europe’s largest airport, where he is currently Interim Chief Operating Officer.

Derek joined Heathrow in 2013 having spent three years as Managing Director of Aberdeen International Airport. Derek started his aviation career in 1998 at Glasgow Airport where he went on to hold a series of senior roles including Airfield Operations Manager, Head of Security and Terminal Operations and Customer Services Director.

Derek will take up his position at AGS and Glasgow Airport in April 2018. He will work closely with the Board, chaired by Sir Peter Mason, to further build on the success of the group which carried over 15 million passengers in 2017.

Commenting on the appointment, Sir Peter said: “Given Derek’s extensive experience and knowledge, not just of the AGS group of airports but the aviation industry as a whole, he was the natural choice of the Board. It is great to have someone of Derek’s pedigree joining the group and I am looking forward to working with him as we ensure our airports continue to deliver for the communities they serve.”

On his new role, Derek said: “Very few people are afforded the opportunity to lead the airport at which they started their career. Glasgow has enjoyed remarkable success in recent years and starts 2018 having recorded its busiest year on record. I’m excited at the prospect of returning home to build on everything that has been achieved to date.

As Chief Executive Officer, I will be supporting the local management teams at both Aberdeen International and Southampton airports as we work to cement AGS’s position as one of the UK’s largest and most successful airport groups.”