Johnstone gets set for Christmas lights switch-on.

Johnstone will get its chance to shine in the seasonal spotlight when it hosts a mixture of music and magic for its Christmas Lights Switch-on this week.

The event – expected to attract hundreds of people – will take place in Houstoun Square, with family entertainment on from noon.

There will be a day of entertainment on the big stage, headlined by boyband Rewind as well as local talent from Splash Productions and the Per4mance Stage School.

DJs from Pulse FM will also be on hand to get the party started by introducing the acts throughout the day.

Other highlights will include fun fair rides, Santa’s Grotto, and a crafts fair run by St Vincent’s Hospice.

Renfrewshire’s Provost Anne Hall will be on hand to switch on the lights at 4.30pm and will be joined by Rebecca Lamb, aged 11, who won a creative story-writing competition to have the honour of helping with the switch-on.

Provost Hall said: “The Johnstone switch-on follows successful events in Paisley and Renfrew over the past two weekends.

“This event is always well attended and I’m sure this year will be no different. I look forward to seeing everybody there.

“It’s always great to see the main town square so busy – occasions like this are good for the community and provide a boost to local businesses too.”

Full main stage timetable is as follows: Noon – Pulse FM, 12.10 – Per4mance Stage School, 12.40 – DSD Street Dance School, 13.00 – Splash Productions, 13.40 – Todi, 14.15 – Andy, 14.45 – Sweet Injection, 15.25 – Francesca Kimberley,16.00 – Rewind, 16.30 – Lights go on.

Fun in the sun as Sma’ Shot Day celebrated

Renfrewshire residents had fun in the sun when the area’s big summer event calendar continued with Sma’ Shot Day.

Around 2,000 people gathered in Paisley town centre for the popular annual day out, designed to celebrate the 19th-century mill workers’ victory over their bosses in an industrial dispute.

The day kicked off at noon with the annual parade from Brodie Park to Abbey Close, headed by the familiar pounding of the Charleston Drum, carried by Freeman of Renfrewshire Tony Lawler.

The parade was joined for part of the route by St Mirren mascot Paisley Panda, who brought with him the League Cup.

At Abbey Close, speakers including Renfrewshire’s Depute Provost John Caldwell addressed the crowds, before DJs from Pulse FM took over the stage to provide entertainment.

Visitors were able to enjoy funfair rides, charity stalls, bouncy castle, craft market and mini-farm.

There was also a tea dance at Paisley Town Hall, and a film and display at Central Library on the life of celebrated Paisley trade unionist Willie Gallacher.

The day culminated, as always, with the spectacular Burning of the Cork – an effigy of a mill owner, which always meets a fiery ending.

Depute Provost Caldwell said: “Sma’ Shot Day is always a popular event for all the family, and I’m glad to say this year turned out no different.

“Events like this are a key part of the council’s strategy to get people into our town centres, so I was glad to see the day was so well attended.

“The event’s roots are connected to an important chapter in the history of Paisley and Renfrewshire and it is great to see people celebrating that to this day.”

Sma’ Shot Day celebrates the victory of Paisley’s weavers over the town’s mill owners in the 19th century.

The owners refused to pay their staff for the Sma’ (small) Shot thread which was unseen but held together the famous Paisley-patterned cashmere shawls.

A long fight and political battle ensued which the weavers eventually won and renamed the traditional July holiday Sma’ Shot Day.

Photographs courtesy of

Fun for all the family at Barshaw Gala Day

Renfrewshire residents are gearing up for the first big event in the area’s summer calendar when Barshaw Gala Day takes place later this month.

The popular annual event is set to attract thousands of people to the park in Paisley’s east end on Saturday 15 June between noon and 4pm.

A varied programme of attractions includes music and entertainment on the main stage provided by young people from the Erskine Music and Media Studio.

A series of local acts of varying musical styles will take to the stage throughout the afternoon, with acoustic acts stepping in to keep the crowd entertained between performances.

Elsewhere in the park, there will be more than 20 separate attractions, including family favourites such as face painting, children’s entertainers and karaoke.

Other highlights will include a dog display, falconry display, cattle tent, model boats, pony rides and vintage fire engines.

Those who are feeling sporty can take part in orienteering, beat-the-goalie and mini-tennis, with street football and the mobile youth bus from the area’s award-winning Street Stuff youth diversionary project also set to be in attendance.

There will also be a wide range of stalls from community groups, with the police, fire brigade, Renfrewshire Libraries, Renfrewshire Leisure and the Territorial Army among those there on the day.

The gala day will also give visitors a chance to pay a fond farewell to Jenny and Angel, the park’s two donkeys, who will soon be retiring to a special animal sanctuary in The Borders.

Over the next month, the council will be renovating the donkey paddock with two new animals set to arrive later this summer. Visitors to the gala day will get the chance to suggest names for the new donkeys.

Councillor Eddie Devine, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment Policy Board, said: “Barshaw Gala is always a popular and well-attended day out and this year’s event looks set to follow in that tradition.

“Last year’s event was a large-scale 100th birthday party for the park but this year’s event will have a more traditional gala day set-up.

“There are loads of attractions planned and there should be something for everyone, so I would urge people to get themselves along and enjoy the occasion.”

Also there on the day will be a stand for the new ‘Friends of Barshaw Park’ group, who are looking to recruit volunteers to help look after the park in the years to come.

Visitors to the event should park in the designated overflow car park at the east end of the park, or at Paisley Grammar School, where free parking will also be provided.

Maps showing where the attractions will be in the park will handed out on the day, and will also be available to download onto your smartphone at