Paolo Nutini backs bid for home town to be UK City of Culture 2021

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Singer Paolo Nutini has declared his support for his home town's bid to be named UK City of Culture 2021.

The singer revealed he was backing the bid in a surprise video message which was broadcast to the crowd in Paisley at the town's Christmas lights switch-on event on Saturday.

The switch-on coincided with the first anniversary of the bid launch.

Paolo Nutini
(Mark F Gibson/PA)

Paolo, who was brought up in Paisley, Renfrewshire, and still has a home there, told the crowd of his pride in the town and why he was supporting its cultural ambitions.

He said: "I'm backing the bid because Paisley is and always has been my home. I love the town and want to see it grow.

"It's a town that needs the investment, but it knows what it's going to do with that investment and I think the potential is really clear.

"I see the romance of the town - when you walk into the centre it's got a beautiful composition.

"The bid is about building a structure that can tackle the more deep-rooted problems and it's important we get behind that.

"There's already a new lease of life being brought into the town. I'm backing the bid so please go on the website, push the button, and do the same."

Paolo Nutini
(Jack Plunkett/AP)

The Renfrewshire town is bidding for the national title as part of wider plans to use its cultural heritage and contemporary creative scene to create long-lasting economic, social and cultural change.

The bid is being taken forward by a partnership of local organisations, many of whom have been showing their support on social media using #WeArePaisley.

Residents and visitors were also invited to back the bid by pushing a specially-created button on the paisley2021.co.uk website.

Paolo Nutini
(Yui Mok/PA)

Councillor Mark Macmillan, Renfrewshire Council leader and chair of the Paisley 2021 Partnership Board, said: "Today's event was all about people of the town having the chance to say We Are Paisley.

"So we are delighted that Paolo - as one of the town's best-known cultural figures - was able to tell the crowd in his own words why he is backing the bid.

"The Christmas lights switch-on always brings tens of thousands of people into the town anyway, and given the anniversary fell on the same weekend there was no better chance for a mass show of support for Paisley 2021."

He added: "Today we sent a message that not only does Paisley want the title, but it has the capacity to pull off the big events it will involve."