Meet the Paisley Museum fundraising team

Monday 4th February, 2019

Paisley Museum is being transformed into an international-class visitor attraction showcasing the town’s people, stories and Pattern – and we can introduce some of the team making that possible.

When it reopens in 2022, the hidden treasures of Paisley’s outstanding art, science and natural history collections and internationally-significant textile heritage will be on display in greater volumes than ever before.

The building is being redesigned by award-winning international architects AL_A and the project will see a transformation of the Victorian buildings – including Coats Observatory, Scotland oldest.

Renfrewshire Council is leading the £42m project, with funding already earmarked from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund.

And a new team has been assembled to run the capital appeal to raise the final £5m to allow the full transformation to take place.

Here, capital appeal director Eric Grounds, fundraising manager Andy Robin, and fundraising assistant Laura Wedderburn tell us a bit about themselves – and what they think makes Paisley and its museum special….


I was a sportsman, who represented England and Great Britain as a swimmer, and as a bobsleigher at the 1976 Olympic Games in Innsbruck. I also represented England as an athlete, throwing the discus.

I was a serving soldier for 16 years in 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, saw active service in Saudi Arabia and Northern Ireland, and worked for the Joint Intelligence Committee in the Cabinet Office.

I later founded a picture framing business which went global and saw me flying around the world providing the art programmes for hotels, ships and offices. I also worked as a magistrate for 21 years, served as the High Sheriff of Northumberland, and recently became a published author.

This is my 93rd big gift appeal….and I am still learning. I have worked in senior leadership roles at Marie Curie Cancer Care, Sue Ryder Care, and Crohn’s and Colitis UK, and led appeals for a number of military museums. I am one of only 32 Fellows of the Institute of Fundraising in the UK as well as being a  Certified Fundraising Executive – the only global fundraising qualification.

Museums help tell the story of who we are and where we are going. We tend to pay lip service to the lessons of history, but our history is the foundation for our future.

Apart from Paisley, how many towns and cities gave their name to a design or product? There are others but you have to add the name of the product to understand it. Paisley stands on its own and the vision for its regeneration merits full support at local, Scottish, UK and international levels.


I am an experienced capital appeal fundraiser, who worked on the £66m transformation of the Burrell Collection in Glasgow’s Pollok Park. Before that I worked for social care charity, Cornerstone.

I am a proud Buddie, and a season ticket holder at St Mirren so I am delighted to be back in the town and supporting its ambitious regeneration plans.

Museums are a social connector, and are unique in the way they bring people together. Museums give us a great way to learn about our past, which can then bring deeper meaning to the current day.

As a child I visited Paisley museum most weekends. I used to go with my late Gran. It fills me with joy to think about the future generations who will benefit from the refurbished museum and I hope they have as much fun as I did.

Paisley has given so much to the world in the way of heritage and entertainment. Even a five-minute walk through the town centre is breathtaking due to the wonderful array of listed buildings on show. The museum is at the heart of that and I am proud to be helping bring much-needed fresh life into the incredible building.



I have a masters degree in Art History from the University of Glasgow, having specialised in illustrated Renaissance printed books. As fundraising assistant, I will be the first point of contact for anyone who wants to know more about the campaign and developing content to keep the public up-to-date and engaged with the appeal.

History has always been a passion of mine…the heritage and museum sectors work wonderfully together to preserve our past and in turn allowing us to understand our present.

Historical artefacts are one of the best ways for us to learn from the past. It is crucial these are not only conserved but displayed in an engaging way – so they can be enjoyed for generations to come and made fully accessible to the widest audience.

Paisley’s collections are world class and international in outlook. My favourite parts include work by the Scottish Colourists and our eclectic archaeological collection…they have such an interesting and exciting story to tell.

Paisley has such a colourful history as a town and the collections tell that story. I love that some of the items manage to be local and international at once – such as the world’s largest collection of Paisley shawls. Items like these are key to understanding Paisley’s global role.


Museums help tell the story of who we are and where we are going. We tend to pay lip service to the lessons of history, but our history is the foundation for our future.

Eric Grounds
Campaign Appeal Director
Paisley Museum Reimagined