Glasgow 2014: Thousands to attend athletes parade

THOUSANDS of people are expected to line the streets of Glasgow next week for a celebratory parade of Team Scotland’s record-breaking athletes.
The parade will give the public a chance to congratulate Team Scotland on their success. Picture: Jeff HolmesThe parade will give the public a chance to congratulate Team Scotland on their success. Picture: Jeff Holmes
The parade will give the public a chance to congratulate Team Scotland on their success. Picture: Jeff Holmes

With Scotland’s biggest city struggling with the hangover from the largest sporting event the nation has ever seen, the event has been described as a “fitting finale” to the Commonwealth Games.

Members of the public have been urged to turn out en masse to pay tribute to the competitors who helped the host nation secure 53 medals during the eleven days of competition, among then 19 golds - Scotland’s biggest ever haul at a single Games,

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As work began today to return the city’s venues to normal after the sporting spectacle, details of the parade were released by organisers.

It will begin at 4.15pm next Friday, with the route beginning at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the scene of gold medal triumphs for Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall and his fellow lawn bowl stars.

A seven strong fleet of vehicles will then travel east towards the city centre, where they are expected to arrive in George Square at around 5.30pm.

It is expected that up to 5,000 people will attend the event in Glasgow’s civic heart. The George Square finale will be open to ticket holders only, with around half of the allocation going towards Games volunteers and family and friends of the athletes. Around 1,500 tickets are to be given away to members of the public via competitions run by media outlets.

Announcing the plans for the parade, Jon Doig, Team Scotland’s Chef de Mission, said: “The athletes’ parade is an exciting opportunity for Team Scotland to thank the people of Scotland for their backing throughout Glasgow 2014.

“Their support is vital, roaring on our athletes as they proudly compete for Scotland and the parade will be a fitting finale, where everyone can share in the moment and celebrate the achievements of the Games.”

Shona Robison, minister for the Commonwealth Games and sport, said the success of the Games gave her every confidence the parade would be well received.

She said: “The parade’s atmosphere will be unbelievable. We have already seen the huge numbers of people across Scotland coming out to cheer the baton relay and this is a fantastic opportunity for the people of Scotland to once again show their support and appreciation for all of Team Scotland – not just the athletes but also those who will have contributed to the success.”

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Louise Martin, chair of sportscotland, added: “It is wonderful that this parade will give the people of Scotland the chance to come out to salute their heroes after the Games and allow the athletes the opportunity to thank Scots for their support.

“I’d urge people from across Scotland to come and be part of this special day, as Scotland celebrates its greatest ever sporting year.”

Meanwhile, overnight viewing figures released showed that almost eight million people across the UK tuned in to watch Lulu and Kylie Minogue perform at the finale of the Commonwealth Games.

The ceremony, which was hosted by comedian and Des Clarke and also included performances by Deacon Blue and tributes to the volunteers who kept the Glasgow games running smoothly, was shown live on BBC One and attracted a peak audience of 7.7 million.

That is down from the 9.4 million who watched the opening ceremony - which featured musical performances by Rod Stewart, Susan Boyle and Nicola Benedetti - at its peak.

In Scotland, almost 1.6 million viewers watched the two hour-long programme, with a peak audience of 1.595 million. That represented a 65 per cent share and came close to the 1.77 million people who watched the broadcast of the opening ceremony.

Sunday night’s ceremony at Glasgow’s Hampden Park brought the curtain down on 11 days of sporting action which saw more than 140 Commonwealth and several world records broken. England ultimately topped the table, with Australia, Canada and Scotland following on with their medal hauls.