Pamela & Campbell Joss : Commonwealth Games
Pamela opened saying that she and her husband were the Fred & Ginger, the Torvil & Dean of the Commonwealth Games (CG) – clearly Probus were getting a double act! Both had been keen volunteers at the 2014 Games. Pamela had been based at the Athletes Village and was one of a group allocated to be minders for the Turks and Caicos team. Campbell found himself at Hampden helping out with lifting weights and field events.
There were nearly 12,000 volunteers for the CG from across the UK. Each had been given a uniform, water bottle and umbrella. Everyone also been given a security pass which also provided free Scotrail travel for the duration of the Games. The security passes were sophisticated and provided access only to areas in which the volunteer would work. Pamela had an Infinity Pass because she needed to have the ability to accompany any athlete in her team to any venue. Poor Campbell was limited to Hampden!
There had been a full dress rehearsal for the Opening Ceremony before the Games formally started. Parkhead stadium was filled with cheering volunteers and their families for the occasion. Pamela said it was almost as good as the real thing. Even the Royal Limousine went round the track with substitute royalty giving the usual limp wristed wave. So the event was authentic – just the thing to inspire the volunteers for the CG.
A lot of thought had gone into the athletes village designed to accommodate nearly 5,000 athletes. In addition to the accommodation, there was a Sports Recovery Centre and Clinic, Dining facilities for 2,000, a café, a media centre, a convenience store and a post office with its own franking centre! The Village had its own daily newspaper to report on events and give weather forecasts – sophisticated descriptions – Taps An or Taps Aff. Hence the need for Parliamo Glasgow classes! In due CG tradition the Village had a Chieftain for each day (Mayors in other parts of the Commonwealth). These included well known Scottish Athletes such as Sir Chris Hoy and Dame Katherine Grainger. To the pleasure of the athletes both the Queen and Prince Harry visited the Village during the Games. Mindful of the longer term future, the Athletes Village accommodation was provided by 700 new houses. None of these houses had kitchens which were retro-fitted after the Games.
The Turks and Caicos (T&C) only had 10 athletes. Pamela wryly observed that having a ‘traditional’build was the cultural norm and most athletes conformed to type after they reached 21. There was a big disparity between T&C resources and the bigger countries. So the Glasgow volunteer team found themselves helping out by scrounging trainers, bicycles, mouth-guards, wheelchairs, etc. Australia had two containers of spare equipment which was one source. Unused Aussie gear was auctioned off for charity after the CG.
Pamela and Campbell’s many reminiscences, only partially covered here, revealed that much went on the scenes to make them the success that they became. Looking back, Glasgow has cause to be proud of the success of the Games and the contribution the volunteers made.