Fantastic start to Games

Fireworks burst over the Clyde at Glasgow 2014 Games opening ceremony
Fireworks burst over the Clyde at Glasgow 2014 Games opening ceremony

Wednesday evening saw the culmination of many years of planning, construction and challenges in bringing the 2014 Commonwealth Games to Glasgow - and what a start it was too.

The atmosphere was electric as the 40,000 crowd waited with bated breath for the evenings events to kick off.

Lisa Stewart's Scotty dog

Lisa Stewart's Scotty dog

The opening ceremony has been roundly applauded as being one of the most spectacular openings to a Commonwealth Games yet.

Laden with singing superstars, dancers, pipe bands, Scottish terriers and even some dancing Teacakes ensured that the estimated 1.6 billion viewers around the world were treated to a visual spectacular like no other.

The baton, carrying the Queen’s message, which had travelled through 71 nations and territories over 71,000 miles and 288 days, was carried into the stadium by Jennika Stirling from Jamaica accompanied by a further 32 strong competitor and volunteer contingent before being passed to Olympic superman and six-time gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy, Britain’s greatest Olympian, by his 97-year-old great-uncle Andy Coogan.

The only stumbling block came when Prince Imran of Malaysia, the Commonwealth Games Federation President was unable to open the baton containg Her Majesty’s message.

Picture by JANE BARLOW': ' Opening ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park

Picture by JANE BARLOW': ' Opening ceremony of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park

Eventually, with Sir Chris’s assistance the Queen read her message to the Commonwealth, and, at 11.33pm the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games were officially opened.

Euan Burton, Judo competitor and Flag Bearer for Team Scotland said: “When we were standing in the tunnel outside I turned round and shouted ‘are you ready Scotland?’

“The reception I got was incredible.

When we went in the noise was indescribable and every time we hit a corner it just went up again. If the rest of the Games, is like this it’s going to be something special”

Scotland's Kenny Bain cheers as he and his teammates enter the stadium       REUTERS/Phil Noble

Scotland's Kenny Bain cheers as he and his teammates enter the stadium REUTERS/Phil Noble

Alex Marshall, a Lawn Bowls player and the Deputy Flag Bearer said: “It was the best experience I’ve ever had at a Commonwealth Games (This is his 5th). It was an experience of a lifetime.

“All you saw was Saltires. I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life”

“The reception I had there was the best ever without a doubt.”

Lisa Stewart from Bo’ness and her wee black Scottish terrier Bruce were a big part of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony at Celtic Park on Wednesday evening.

Caroline Burnside as Teacake at opening ceremony Commonwealth Games

Caroline Burnside as Teacake at opening ceremony Commonwealth Games

Bruce may only be 10 months-old but he knows how to behave himself and was strutting his stuff at the choreographed spectacular shown across the world.

Both had their specially designed tartan outfits to wear on the day.

Paul Murphy (39) from Linlithgow and Archie, the four year old Scottie dog led out the team from Antigua and Barbuda.

He was chosen specially as he was one of the biggest of the 41 dogs used at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.

This meant the longer country name would fit on his coat! Owner Paul said: “We have had Archie for four years now and my kids just love him.”

Caroline Burnside, 30, of Bo’ness was a volunteer dancer who formed part of the company which danced through John Barrowman and Karen Dunbar’s ‘Kingdom of the Scots’ opening piece.

She said: “What an amazing time, the roar of the crowd was spine-tingling and this has to have been one of those lifetime experiences you only usually hear about happening to other people.”

West Lothian Provost Tom Kerr said in his message to all those competitors, volunteers and organisers at the Commonwealth Games 2014: “I applaud wholeheartedly the dedication, commitment and effort expended by everyone who is involved in bringing this showcase event for Scotland to fruition, from the volunteers to police officers to participants.

“It simply would never have happened without everyone pulling together - and that’s what we do best here in Scotland.

“I’m so proud to know that we have several individuals from West Lothian who are playing their part in putting this event firmly in the worlds eye.

“I wish them all the very best and hope they take away many lifetime memories.”

The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Donald Wilson has also sent a good luck message to all Edinburgh born and based Team Scotland athletes inviting them to a celebratory event at the City Chambers after the conclusion of the 2014 Games. He said: “As Lord Provost and on behalf of the people of Edinburgh, I would like to congratulate you on your selection to represent Team Scotland at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games.

“In taking part in the Games, you are representing extraordinary dedication and determination in your sport, and your story is an inspiration for sporting fans and professionals throughout the capital.

“In recognition of your accomplishments and your links with Edinburgh, I would like to invite you to attend an evening’s celebration at the close of the Games, to present to you a commemorative gift on behalf of the people of the city. We will also take the opportunity at this time to celebrate local sporting achievements through the ‘Edinburgh Sports Awards’ which recognise community level sports clubs, coaches and volunteer activity in the past year.

“I believe these grassroots clubs and hard working coaches are to thank for helping young people engage with sport and step up to success.

“With the eyes of the world on Scotland this summer, I wish you the very best of luck for Glasgow 2014.”

Falkirk Council’s Provost Pat Reid said: “Best wishes to all our athletes who I am sure will bring home medals. Also, to the many locals who have volunteered to help throughout the Games and are doing an impressive job.”

West Lothian has fifteen Commonwealth Games athletes competing at Glasgow 2014.

The local contingent, thought to be the largest ever representing the county, will compete as part of Team Scotland.

And, local residents are being encouraged to show their support for our stars as they bid for medal success.

Executive councillor for culture and leisure, Depute Provost Dave King said: “Congratulations to all our athletes who are competing as part of Team Scotland.

“I’m sure that everyone in West Lothian is very proud to see so many local athletes taking part, and will join me in wishing them every success during the games.

“With our competitors in a range of events including gymnastics, swimming, lawn bowls, hammer, boxing, cycling and judo, there will be plenty of opportunities to cheer on our local athletes over the course of the Glasgow 2014 games.”

West Lothian Indoor Bowling Club stalwart Neil Speirs who plays for Kirkliston will be competing in the Lawn Bowls, while team mate Anne Ewing from Torphichen will contest the Road Race event.