Olly Murs to donate switch-on fee
X Factor singer Olly Murs is to donate his fee for switching on a town's Christmas lights to charity.
The singer, who was beaten into second place by Joe McElderry on last year's competition, is being paid £15,000 by a council that is cutting 500 jobs.
He will perform on stage in Paisley before being joined by Renfrewshire Provost Celia Lawson to officially switch on the town's lights.
The move by Renfrewshire Council drew criticism as it is is having to make cuts of £24 million and is axing hundreds of jobs, with opposition councillors describing it as an "extravagance".
Murs is to give £7,500 each to the Accord Hospice in Paisley and Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland, saying he wanted to use the money to help "people who really need it".
He said: "I'm very lucky to be able to do this for a living. I've always had great support from fans in Scotland when I perform there and I'll always be very grateful for that. I've decided to give the fee for the show in Paisley away to two local charities, which I know will use it to help people that really need it. I'm really looking forward to performing in Paisley and switching on the lights, and I hope everyone has a great night."
The council said the £15,000 fee was to cover travel, security and the time the star will be in Paisley.
Renfrewshire Council leader Derek Mackay, who represents the SNP, said: "Paisley Christmas lights switch-on is part of a wide-ranging and increasingly successful programme to regenerate Paisley town centre. One of the keys to doing that is attracting more people to the town. Last year's Christmas lights switch-on attracted around 25,000 people to Paisley town centre. The money spent on the performer's fee is to provide the people of Renfrewshire with the type of event they want to see so they will come and support the economic regeneration of their town. Cutting back on these successful events would be a false economy as we would lose out on that boost."
Donald MacLeod, Chairman of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland said: "We are delighted with this very magnanimous gesture from Olly Murs."
Labour councillor Michael Holmes said: "I'm absolutely delighted Olly has decided to donate his fee to Accord Hospice in Paisley and Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy. Both charities do fantastic work and it shows how generous he is."