City reveals plans to honour Commonwealth heroes

Games athletes including Josh Taylor could be given an open-top parade like the one held to celebrate Scottish successes at the 2012 Olympics. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Games athletes including Josh Taylor could be given an open-top parade like the one held to celebrate Scottish successes at the 2012 Olympics. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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CROWDS of sports fans will get the chance to honour the city’s Commonwealth Games heroes in a public ceremony in the heart of Edinburgh, the News can reveal.

It is understood athletes from Edinburgh and the Lothians will take part in a parade or public reception – possibly on the Royal Mile – once the curtain comes down on the city’s hectic Festival season.

Scotland finished fourth in the medal league tables at Glasgow 2014 with 19 athletes taking gold. Golden Lothian stars include bowling king Alex Marshall, sprinter Libby Clegg, boxer Josh Taylor, judoka Euan Burton, swimmer Dan Wallace and cyclist Neil Fachie.

Games stars are due to attend a private bash with Lord Provost Donald Wilson in the coming weeks where they will be presented with a commemorative gift. But now city chiefs have unveiled plans to host a public celebration to all Edinburgh athletes to pay tribute to their success.

Options include an open-top bus parade, a meet and greet on the Royal Mile or an appearance on the balustrade outside City Chambers.

Evening News readers vowed to turn out for a parade and suggested staging a party in Holyrood Park.

Reader Margaret Paterson said: “All of Team Scotland should be included, not just the ones from the Lothians, after all they all took part in the Games and Edinburgh is the capital city.”

Councillor Steve Cardownie, the city’s festivals and events champion, said a public reception would now be held in Edinburgh.

He said: “We haven’t worked out whether an open-top bus would get the attention of the public or whether it would it be better for the athletes to come out on the refurbished balustrade on High Street outside the City Chambers.

“It could also take the form of some kind of reception but then we would have to try to find a way to ensure to get to meet members of the public.”

And Cllr Cardownie stressed that the celebration must be held promptly while the Games remains fresh in the memory - but would not be until after the end of the Festival.

Lord Provost Donald Wilson said plans were at an early stage but it was important to hold a “public event that everyone can be a part of”.

He said: “Edinburgh’s athletes deserve a resounding well done for their fantastic efforts in the Games, and we certainly intend to host a celebration in the city.

“The plans are at an early stage and we are still in discussions with partners about the format it will take, but we hope to be able to make an announcement soon.”

An athletes’ parade is due to take place at the Games host city of Glasgow next 
Friday.

Olympic champion Allan Wells, 62, said an open-top bus from the Castle down Princes Street would be the “best and easiest” way to mark the occasion.

He said: “I had the open-top bus from the airport into Meadowbank with my gold medal. I was also driven down Princes Street in a pink Rolls.

“A lot of people would cheer them on, and I know that the athletes would be pleased with something like that.