40000 in-house spectators; 1.5 billion worldwide audience; 3000 strong cast. That’s not to mention the hordes of staff, volunteers and armed forces personnel bustling around Celtic Park and the surrounding areas. The Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony was a labour-intensive beast.
And amidst all those hard-working folk was a small but very special group of people, who were never name-checked or lauded, but who were given the honour of carrying the Queen’s Baton on the final leg of its Commonwealth-wide journey, across the ceremony floor and into the hands of Sir Chris Hoy and his coach, Andy Coogan.
It was my absolute privilege to be among them for the week-long rehearsals and Opening Ceremony itself, and while I felt like a complete sham in their midst, now I believe I was there for a very special reason – to document their achievements, to shout about their selfless dedication to sport in Scotland, and to introduce everyone to a truly inspirational bunch of human-folk.
So please, do yourself a huge favour and take a few moments to read what the batonbearers themselves had to say about their wide-ranging skills and accomplishments, and prepare to be reminded of the warmth and downright goodness of people. But remember, they’re a humble bunch, so they’ve probably left out quite a lot of what makes them so incredible. Whatever they’ve said, just double it, and you’ll come a bit closer to how uniquely generous, considerate and giving these girls and guys really are.