On Friday, the intrepid team of #citizenrelay reporters took a trip down to the ground floor of Paisley’s shopping centre to meet a group of people representing the diversity of the art and cultural sector in Renfrewshire and eager to talk to us about their links to the Olympic Games. Their apparent passion to talk to us was motivated by the fact that Paisley is not on the route of the Torch Relay as it passes through Scotland’s town and cities, even although the nation’s largest town lays claim to sharing an historical association with the foundations of the modern Olympic Games.

So, Paisley has its own Much Wenlock story and would surely have provided the media with a ready made story with which to promote one of the London 2012 mascots, Wenlock, when the Torch Relay passed through?

That afternoon in the depths of the Paisley Centre, we also found out about other associations between the Olympics and the Renfrewshire area through conversations with Elise Kelly from the Music Nation project Weaving Musical Thread which took place across the area’s towns and villages in March 2012.  Here’s Elise’s reflections on the success of the project and the challenge of meeting the expectations generated.

Not only did the #citizenrelay team talk about cultural projects and their legacies within the Renfrewshire area.  We also spoke with Liz Gardiner, Director of Fablevision, and involved with the Paisley Development Trust in organising the celebrations marking the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt of 1697 which is being reenacted on 9th June 2012.  Liz describes the celebrations and talks about her regrets that the Torch Relay is not passing through the town.

We also spent time speaking with volunteers involved in the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt re-enactment, including Anne Ross, a costume maker.

At the end of a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon talking to people passionate about their town and its rich social and cultural history, it is understandable why Paisley feels like it has been left out of the Torch Relay celebrations. However, with the re-enactment of the Renfrewshire Witch Hunt 1697 in June and the 850th anniversary of Paisley Abbey to look forward to, the town has plenty to celebrate in 2012.  And remember, Paisley can lay claim to being at the heart of the modern Olympic Games…

dgmcgillivray has 42 post(s) on Citizen Relay: Tracking the 2012 Torch Around Scotland