Let the Games begin

The Queen’s Baton Relay has completed its 288 day tour of Commonwealth nations, ending with a bang at a party held at Queen’s Park recreation ground.

Southsiders were out in force and enjoying soaring temperatures as the baton visited King’s Park, Mount Florida, Govanhill, Pollokshields, Bellahouston, Langside, Shawlands and Strathbungo before finishing in celebratory style at Queen’s Park recreation ground.

One of the first runners to take up the baton in Carmunnock was 25-year-old Melissa Currie, from Eaglesham.

The East Ren lass — who runs her own business, Macs Glasgow Hair and Beauty — told The Extra: “It was an amazing day yesterday and one I will never forget.

“Over five years now I’ve been in and out of hospital, and I was made redundant.

“I decided to go out on my own with the backing of The Princes Trust, who have asked me to become a young ambassador for them, giving talks to other young people who want to start up a business.

“It was thanks to my journey that I was selected as a batonbearer, which was such an honour.

“I can’t believe it’s all over now — but let the Games begin.”

The relay stopped at Tramway for a lap of the Hidden Gardens, and was welcomed to the Glasgow Gurdwara by the Sikh community and a drumming band.

Special guests gathered to see it at the Busy Bees Heritage House Nursery in Pollokshields, as well as watch the children recreate their own sporting activities — including another relay, as the Busy Bees baton has been making its way round 16 nurseries across Scotland — while raising money for UNICEF.

Managing direcor Marg Randles said: “We just had a fantastic time today and the children really enjoyed themselves and were so excited to see both batons.”

The baton — containing the message from the queen read out at last night’s opening ceremony — then reached the finish line at the southside park, welcomed by the day’s batonbearers and Langside councillor Archie Graham, depute leader of Glasgow City Council and the authority’s representative on the Glasgow 2014 board.

Addressing an excited crowd, councillor Graham said: “It’s been a fantastic three days, and it’s been brilliant to see so many people out on the route at various community events.

“The event has brought our streets to life. What a wonderful turnout from southsiders — well done everybody. It’s been a great opportunity to demonstrate pride in our city.”

The baton was sent on a tour of the athletes village in the east end yesterday (Wednesday) followed by the Glasgow 2014 opening ceremony held at Celtic Park, declaring the Commonwealth Games officially open.

The closing ceremony takes place here in the southside, held at Hampden Park on August 4.

Councillor Graham added: “The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games are our chance to showcase this great city on a global stage, and I have no doubt that the people of Glasgow will truly, truly be the stars of the show.”