With Scotland’s biggest city picking itself up following the climax of the largest sporting event the nation has ever seen, the closing event has been described as a “fitting finale” to the Commonwealth Games.
Although Sunday’s ceremony heralded a mass exodus of athletes, officials and spectators from Glasgow, residents of the city are being urged to turn out en masse for the parade to pay tribute to the competitors who helped the host nation secure 53 medals during the 11 days of competition, among them 19 golds – Scotland’s biggest ever haul at a single Games.
As work began to reopen roads, remove bunting and return the city’s sporting venues to normal, details of the parade were released by organisers.
It will begin at 4.15pm next Friday, when a convoy of athletes gather at Kelvingrove Art Gallery, the scene of gold medal triumphs for Alex “Tattie” Marshall and his fellow bowls stars.
The seven-strong fleet of vehicles will then travel east into the city centre, where they are expected to arrive in George Square at 5.30pm.
It is expected that up to 5,000 people will attend the event in Glasgow’s civic heart. The George Square parade will be open to ticket-holders only, with around half of the allocation going to 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.
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 event’s success 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.”
Louise Martin, chair of sportscotland, said: “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, viewing figures show that almost eight million people tuned in to watch Lulu and Kylie Minogue perform at the Games finale.
The ceremony included performances by Deacon Blue and featured tributes to the volunteers who kept the Glasgow Games running smoothly. It was shown live on BBC One and attracted a peak audience of 7.7 million viewers.
The figure is down from the 9.4m who watched the opening ceremony – which featured performances by Rod Stewart, Susan Boyle and Nicola Benedetti.