Parade send-off for Commonwealth Games stars

Bowler Alex 'Tattie' Marshall flies the flag on the parade through Glasgow. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Bowler Alex 'Tattie' Marshall flies the flag on the parade through Glasgow. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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Commonwealth Games heroes from the Capital received a “sensational” send-off in Glasgow as a crowd of 5000 lined the streets for a victory parade.

Athletes said the reception they received at the celebration felt just as good as Scotland winning a record haul of medals.

Around 200 athletes boarded five open-top vehicles outside Kelvingrove Museum in the west end of Glasgow and travelled along packed streets, with crowds cheering and waving flags as they weaved towards George Square to rapturous applause.

Glasgow’s parade has fuelled excitement for a homecoming later this month for the many Lothians athletes who excelled at the Games.

Haddington bowling champion Alex “Tattie” Marshall, who won two gold medals and was the flag bearer for Team Scotland at the closing ceremony, said yesterday’s parade had been emotional.

“Right from the word go when we got on the floats at Kelvingrove, I’ve never experienced an atmosphere like it,” said the 47-year-old.

“I’ve been bowling for the best part of 40 years and I’ve played across the world, but this is sensational. The whole of Glasgow has been magnificent with the support of the athletes.

“I thought the atmosphere was fantastic at the venues, but this beats everything, I’ve still got goosebumps yet, it’s actually quite emotional.”

Boxing gold medallist Josh Taylor, from Prestonpans, tweeted a picture from the stage on George Square. He said: “Pure Dead Brilliant Support! #ThankYouScotland.”

Some medal winners, including Lynsey Sharp, were unable to take part in the parade because they are competing at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, but others such as cyclists Neil Fachie and Craig Maclean, and swimmers Ross Murdoch and Erraid Davies were on board the vehicles.

Edinburgh City Council remained tight-lipped about its plans for an event in the Capital on Friday, August 29 – but the authority said today that the free celebration would allow the public to meet the athletes.

Diver Grace Reid and boxer Taylor will be among the athletes in attendance.

They have also been invited by Lord Provost Donald Wilson to attend a reception at the City Chambers on the same evening, where they will present awards to young sporting talent and coaches at the annual Sports Awards.

Councillor Wilson said: “We are still finalising the plans for the Sports Awards, when Edinburgh athletes will present awards to the city’s most talented up and coming stars.

“I still believe it is very important that we also hold a public event that everyone can be a part of, as Edinburgh’s athletes deserve a well done for their great efforts in the Games.”

The medal haul during the 11-day Glasgow 2014 event was a record for Team Scotland in the Commonwealth Games. Athletes won a total of 19 gold, 15 silver and 19 bronze medals, to finish fourth in the overall table.

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com