Meet Our Commonwealth Games Volunteers

Sarah’s Amazing Memories

“An unforgettable experience” is how Sarah Dickie, Head of Nursing for the Medical Directorate, described her volunteering role at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Here are some of her reflections.

My involvement in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games began in November 2012 when I was invited to be a member of the Scottish Government’s nurse steering group. I had some limited experience of providing medical cover for national sports but nothing on this scale and soon realised I was about to embark on an amazing journey.  Subsequent meetings covered a full range of clinical and non-clinical planning in partnership with the National Sports Federation and anti doping.

My actual Clyde-sider journey started following a face to face interview in Glasgow back in June 2013 for a role in the medical team. On November 29th 2013 I received an email to say ‘Congratulations – you’re a Clyde-sider.’  For those not in the know, Glasgow 2014 volunteers were all known as Clyde-siders; I felt so privileged that I had been chosen.

After further training I picked up my uniform  and subsequently reported to my base, a purpose-built poly clinic in the Athletes Village where I worked in partnership with dental, pharmacy, optometry, sports medicine, physiotherapy, recovery and rehabilitation and sports massage colleagues. Our on-site radiology included MRI and CT scanners, and we operated a triage system to make sure the right person received the right care at the right time by the right clinician… sound familiar? Just like being at work!  One of the joys was having no hierarchical structure, simply a team working together and sharing a common desire to achieve excellence in healthcare for athletes, helping them shine and perform to the peak of their abilities.

The skills and expertise that all poly clinic members brought to Glasgow 2014 was of the highest standard. As a medical services team we gave over 73,000 hours of volunteering time to both athletes and Commonwealth Games officials.

I had such a great Games experience and thank Glasgow 2014 for my amazing volunteer memories and what will be a lasting legacy. It was truly an unforgettable experience and gave me a strong sense of belonging. As Lizzie Armitstead, Gold medal winner in the road race cycle said:  “You don’t live your dreams by just dreaming.”

Based on this experience I would definitely explore volunteering again. Bring on the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018 …. now where is that application form?

Annie and ClydeThe Story of Annie and Clyde

A chance encounter at the NHS Scotland Event in 2013 with a cheery green chap with purple spiky hair called Clyde and Anne Benton, OD Advisor, was hooked on the Commonwealth Games.  While initially she harboured thoughts of taking part in the long jump, the triathlon or even the marathon, she also thought she might even look good in lycra on the cycling track!

After giving these options serious consideration Anne decided perhaps her real forte would be as a Clyde-sider – a role that would certainly require less radical training. So that was it. Goal set, under starters’ orders, she was ready to sprint into action and here she describes her own personal experience as one of the many thousands of volunteers who helped make the Glasgow Games such a resounding success.

I submitted an application and was lucky enough, together with my sister Helen, to get a pre-Games role as a Frontrunner. Involved in training support at Hampden, we were able to watch the amazing transformation of the stadium.

After a fairly rigorous application process I was then selected as a Clyde-sider and was eagerly waiting to see my ‘uniform.’  Sadly I was disappointed… it looked remarkably like a ‘postie’ outfit and indeed a couple of people asked me if I had mail for houses number 22 and 73!  No way was it as unique and special as the one designed for the athletes! The only exception was the incredibly stupid hat which was nicked from one of the Thomas the Tank engine characters and which we were expected to wear in public. I took some advice from my mate Gok Wan and made a few wee modifications to mine – get the picture!

My role was in Spectator Services in Scotstoun Sports Campus where we supported ‘table tennis’ and ‘squash’ requiring a huge amount of physical and mental  training as follows:

  • Learn how to be nice to people for sustained periods of time whilst hanging about street corners (I think there is a name for that!)
  • Master the skills of pointing with a huge green sponge hand which only pointed in one direction (would have been handy to have had left and right hands so one knows what the other is doing)
  • Practice projecting the ‘official’ greetings and messages which were relayed through the megaphone (aye right, so what’s wrong with telling someone that their outfit is sooooo last year!)
  • Climb to the top of the very high umpire chair to check out the crowd (not easy in the blustery rainy conditions we had on some days and me with a broken wrist – extra points for the ‘degree of difficulty’ though!)
  • Be flexible when working in ‘Super Deploy’ team (don a cape and rush to rescue teams who needed short term support – Super Clyde-sider to the rescue! Fantastic)

What was the worst bit? – Eating sandwiches every shift and dealing with blisters on my feet from walking and dancing (yes, dancing, not a Commonwealth sport but necessary to stay warm)

What was best bit? – Meeting loads of new friends and having a laugh even if we did have some 6.30 am starts and some 10.30pm finishes and achieving a ‘gold’ with my sister for Spectator Services Excellence (believe that if you like!)

Would I do it again? – You bet! Already practising for Gold Coast – g’day mate!