Laurencekirk Rotary Club

At the Laurencekirk and District Rotary Club meeting, vice-President Alan Smith gave an illustrated talk on his six days visit to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Alan has a soft spot for Glasgow, having courted and married a native and having worked there in his early civil engineering career.

With this background, he was able to combine some fine photos of the games in the stadia and in the streets along with many views of historic buildings in Glasgow with expert comment on their history and architectural beauty.

Alan advised the members that to appreciate Glasgow, you have to keep looking up to see the awesome magnificence of the buildings with their wonderful stone carvings. He took the club on a tour of famous landmarks including the City Chambers, Central Station, Hutchison’s Hall, Kelvingrove Art Gallery, St Enoch’s Station, Nelson Mandela Place and Trades Hall.

He also showed the modern buildings being built cheek by jowl with old structures and the contrasting architecture - the ever continuing evolution of the city.

The city had a huge revamp for the games and many areas, once derelict and overgrown had been completely transformed and he was especially full of praise for the amazing work in the East End around the new Emirates Arena and the adjoining Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

Many streets, once black with decades of grime, had been cleaned and were now gleaming and welcoming. His one regret was that the Kelvin Hall, once Glasgow’s iconic home for arts, music and sport, was looking tired but hopefully the promised revamp will come soon.

Alan and Lena managed to combine their nostalgic tour of the city with attendance at many of the games sporting events. He and Lena experienced a raucous record-breaking weekend at the rugby sevens at Ibrox Park with fancy dress and Mexican waves and nations such as Barbados, Sri Lanka and Uganda cheered long into the Govan air.

All his many dreadful memories of disappointment at Hampden Park were quickly dispelled by the sheer brilliance of the athletics and the atmosphere of a stadium packed full of spectators cheering all the athletes performances.

In contrast to the frenzy of the athletics and rugby, they also took in the bowling at Kelvingrove Park with its sedate spectators but the event was no less engrossing and atmospheric. The marathons and cycling time trials gave them the opportunity to combine their city tours with Games spectating.

Allan had volunteered to help at the games and was put on the reserve list but was accepted the day after he had secured his six days of event tickets and sadly had to turn down the chance. He was full of praise for the welcoming and helpful Clydesiders, the street entertainment, the murals and the food and aptly finished his wonderful presentation with a slide of the Games Mascot, Clyde – the thistle man who was the friendly face of Glasgow and was there to help everyone to enjoy the events and proudly represent Scotland – and in Allan and Lena’s eyes he succeeded magnificently.

Donna Allan gave Allan a fulsome vote of thanks

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