Events People

Video: Road cleaner Allan sweeps all aside to take Byres Road Christmas tree honour

By Ian Marland at

For more than 20 years he has swept the streets of the West End – always with a smile and never a day off.

And when he’s not cleaning up after everyone, he’s in his artist’s studio painting the very street scenes he’s become so familiar with.

At the weekend unsung hero Allan Richardson performed the grand switch on of the new Christmas tree lights on Byres Road.


Watch: Unsung hero gets the honour of switching on Byres Road’s Christmas tree lights.

He was chosen in a public poll to find a deserving person to be the guardian for the area’s first Christmas tree.

Allan joined celebrity TV weather girl Judith Ralston to do the honours in front of several hundred spectators.

The switch-on was the culmination of a day of festivities at a well-attended Christmas fair.

Choirs, cakes, gifts and dressed-up festive pooches added to the Christmas spirit as over six thousand people descended upon Vinicombe Street throughout the day to support local business and watch the big switch on.

img_7564-1-copy
Warm front: Unsung hero Allan gets a hug from TV weather girl Judith Ralston.

Nominated from a public hunt for a local hero – which received nearly sixty entries – Allan was chosen to be the Guardian of the West End Christmas tree for his dedication to his job and humble, kind natured personality.

He was nominated by local policeman Craig Brooks.

For the last 22 years he has worked tirelessly to keep the West End clean within the council’s street cleansing team, never missing a day on the job.

An avid painter, he continues to paint Glasgow in his own unique way.

Accepting his Guardian status, Allan said: “I’m honoured to accept the award. I’ll continue to keep doing what I’m doing. Thanks for nominating me!”

Ten market local traders lined Vinicombe Street to showcase Christmas gifts and crafts at the busy festive market.

Live music was provided by choirs and musicians including Voicebeat, the Kelvin Ensemble, Awkward Family Portraits and Amplifive.

Allan Richardson said:

“I’m honoured to accept the award. I’ll continue to keep doing what I’m doing. Thanks for nominating me!”

Raunchy Desserts Baked offered healthy goodies which proved popular with the public as did candles and accessories from Shearer Candles, gifts and cookware from Papyrus, on-trend fashions from Pink Poodle and Scottish gifts from Janet and John.

The event was organised by the Byres Road and Lanes Business Improvement District, the organisation behind Visit West End.

Judith Ralston, said: “Hailing from Edinburgh but with my spiritual home in Glasgow, it’s a real honour to switch on the Byres Road Christmas tree lights. 

“Bringing together the public and amazing small businesses, I loved illuminating Byres Road and celebrating the fantastic shops, restaurants and bars that can found in the West End.”

John Turner, owner of Janet and John in De Courcy’s Arcade said: “We could not have asked for a better Sunday – a fantastic atmosphere, lots of footfall, people choosing to buy local and ONE big Christmas tree.

“Thanks to everyone who came down and showed their support for small businesses in the West End.”

Monday, 28th November marks the start of a week-long promotions period for Byres Road, which leads up to the national Small Business Saturday (Saturday, 3rd December) – which encourages the public to shop locally.

Nancy Smillie, owner of the eponymous Nancy Smillie shop, is encouraging Glasgow to buy local.

She said: “Visit West End created this festive celebration to allow the people of Glasgow to be tourists in their own backyards.

“Peruse our markets & shops and support the eclectic mix of local independents found on your doorstep. We are set to offer 10% off all jewellery this week, on presentation of the promotional booklet, so come down and grab a festive bargain.”

Fiona Fabien, owner of Papyrus, said: “We have sourced some fabulous, unusual gifts this year.

“We have gifts for a great cook or star baker from our cookshop; lovely gifts, accessories and jewellery for the ladies or the ideal present for hard-to-buy males, we have something for everyone in the family.”

The Visit West End promotional booklet is available to download on www.visitwestend.com  and highlights star gifts, experiences and offers for many of the West End shops, restaurants and services.