Civic reception for Commonwealth helpers

Councillor Colin Smyth presents Colin Agnew with his trophy
Councillor Colin Smyth presents Colin Agnew with his trophy

Dumfries and Galloway Council hosted a civic event on Saturday evening in the Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries to celebrate individuals and organisations from Dumfries and Galloway who had made a contribution to the outstanding success of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The Council’s events champion, Councillor Colin Smyth welcomed batonbearers, Clydesiders, athletes, coaches, officials and guests from the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council to the reception which was also an opportunity to recognise the contribution these individuals also make in Dumfries and Galloway.

The evening started with a review of what the legacy for Dumfries and Galloway has been from Scotland staging one of the world largest multi sports events and how it was a unique opportunity to deliver lasting change before and during the Games, and in the years beyond.

Batonbearers were recognised for their public nominations and how each and every batonbearer was selected for making a positive impact in Dumfries and Galloway for their voluntary work. It was also a welcome opportunity to present and recognise the region’s nine coaching award winners who all make a significant impact on the lives of others through what they do for sport.

This was followed by some welcome stories and memorable experiences from Clydesiders and how some people had given up five weeks of their lives to volunteer at the games and how some had returned to Dumfries and Galloway to continue to volunteer in their own community.

Dumfries Amateur Swimming Club was recognised for their achievements at Scottish National Swimming level in their 50th Anniversary year before former club Coach Ben Higson was recognised for his coaching achievements at the Commonwealth Games. Ben, who was Dumfries and Galloway Regional Coach until September 2013, was seconded to Scottish Swimming to prepare swimmers for Glasgow 2014 and was integral to the success of Scottish Commonwealth Gold Medal winner, Ross Murdoch.

The next presentations were to athletes who had represented their nation at the games, all of whom competed for Scotland. Scottish Athlete Kirsty Yates from Haugh of Urr represented Scotland in the Shot Putt finishing 8th. James Johnstone, originally from Dumfries, was part of the Rugby 7’s squad while Gareth Montgomerie from Castle Douglas finished 11th in the Mountain Bike event. Dumfries Running Club’s Joasia Zakrzewski was also part of the athletics squad representing Scotland in the Marathon.

The final presentation of the evening was for Scottish Para Athlete, Libby Clegg from Langholm. She ran in the T12 100m sprint in Hampden Park and was the only athlete to win Gold in track and field for Scotland and the first athlete to do so since Yvonne Murray in 1994.

Council Leader, Ronnie Nicholson closed the evening by thanking everyone for their efforts in helping to make it a great Commonwealth Games and for achievements at an international level. More importantly he thanked them for the impact they make locally and went on to say: “We have heard that People make Glasgow. Well it is evident from what we have heard tonight that People also make Dumfries and Galloway”.

Following the event Council Leader Ronnie Nicholson said: “This was excellent opportunity to celebrate a truly fantastic year for sport but more importantly to recognise and thank people from across our region, in particular whether it is those who those selflessly give up their time to volunteer to support events locally and nationally. We do very well for such a rural area with limited resources and much of this is due to the huge commitment and enthusiasm of the people who attended this event.”