SPECIAL moments in Renfrewshire will now be marked with poignant words after a Poet Laureate was appointed. 

Brian Whittingham, who lived in Renfrew for many years, has been appointed the Tannahill Makar for Renfrewshire.

The appointment comes after Renfrewshire Council agreed to a proposal by Councillor Eileen McCartin and Councillor Andy Doig at a council meeting last year to appoint a Makar.

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The dad-of-two, who has been appointed for the next three years, will visit schools, libraries and local groups to give readings and talks aimed at encouraging an interest in poetry.

And he will write at least five poems each year to mark moments of cultural importance locally. 

Mr Whittingham, 68, said: “I would like to leave some kind of legacy by developing a love of poetry in the community.

“I hope to get people to be more aware of poetry and appreciate that particular art form.”

Mr Whittingham was a plater and then draughtsman on the Clyde shipyards, and it was during this time he became interested in writing poetry while attending the Paisley Writers Group.

He has had nine collections of poetry published and has spent the last 16 years lecturing in creative writing at the City of Glasgow College.

Councillor Doig said he was particularly pleased about the appointment, after his constituent Jack Hastie, from Kilbarchan, said he wanted to see a Makar in Renfrewshire. 

He said: “I was delighted our motion to support the concept of a Makar was agreed unanimously.

“Especially in the wake of the Paisley 2021 campaign, it is crucial for Paisley and Renfrewshire as a whole to continue to have pride in the immense cultural and artistic contribution which Renfrewshire makes to Scottish, British and international culture.

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“The motion came only nine days after Paisley sadly did not win the UK City of Culture award. So, it was timely that, out of the ashes of disappointment, there was a new push to put Renfrewshire on the cultural map.

“Brian has a fine CV and will make a first class arts ambassador, not just for Paisley, but for all of Renfrewshire’s village communities too.”