Glasgow 2014: On the march with the Clydesider army

They are the "warm and friendly" faces of the Games, unmissable in their distinct red and grey uniforms.

It's the Clydesiders who are ferrying the athletes to their venues, directing spectators around the city, collating results and rushing on to the pitch, track or poolside to assist with any problems.

We've spoken to some of those who have been helping keep the Games running across the city.

Out and about

Image caption Clydesider Heather Kerr was pleased to finally get a foam hand for high-fives

"We are pushing people around," says Heather Kerr, who is part of the spectator services team.

Fortunately, she doesn't mean literally. She's one of hundreds of volunteers directing people along the "last mile" to the venues.

"We are being the voice and the face of Glasgow, and are trying to be really positive, happy and smiley," she adds.

She's retired and was inspired to get involved in the Games after seeing the volunteers having "such a fabulous time" at the Olympic Games in London.

"My shifts this week have been from half past six in the morning until five o'clock. It's been long, hot days and it is very tiring," says Heather's colleague Christine Webster, from Greenock.

However, she's still smiling. "The atmosphere is electric," she adds.

"It's lovely to meet so many happy people. There's not many grumpy ones. It's great to meet so many different people from all different nationalities and just chat to them."

And it's not just chatting, smiling and directing people - the ladies also have high-five duties.

"It's my third shift and I finally got a green finger," says a delighted Heather, referring to the foam hands being worn by many volunteers.

Children - and adults too, if inclined - are being encouraged to collect high-fives from the Clydesiders.

"At first I didn't realise it has to be with the foam hand, so this morning I had some very confused faces from passing children," she adds. "But I've got it right now."

Family affair

Image caption Home life's been turned upside down for the King family as they all get involved in the Games

"It has been a bit like 'hello, goodbye' with us and 'just fend for yourselves' with the kids," says Deborah King from Motherwell.

She's been working for Team England at the athletes' village.

Her husband, Ian, is also a Clydesider - keeping time and scores and assisting commentators at the weightlifting events.

The couple have four children, aged between 21 and 14, so with the two of them involved in the Games it's been a bit of a juggle keeping on top of family life.

"The house has been a bit neglected and the kids have probably been a bit neglected too," jokes Deborah.

Like so many other volunteers, the Kings were inspired by London 2012.

And growing up in Edinburgh, Ian also felt he missed out on the two previous Games in his home city.

"We said about 25 years ago, we'll go to the Olympics in Sydney - but that slipped by, then Manchester slipped by. With Glasgow I thought we can't let another one slip by, we have to get involved."

For Ian, being a volunteer has meant "the best seat in the house" for a sport he didn't know much about but has enjoyed learning.

And for Deborah it's the hands-on contact with the athletes that has proved rewarding.

"We thought we would just be driving them about, but I've been shopping, going to the chemist, setting up their rooms and even laying carpets.

"The atmosphere in the village is fantastic. They've all been out on the village green, throwing rugby balls and doing gymnastics."

"Bradley Wiggins might pass you on his bike but there's no big falderal. The athletes seem relaxed and comfortable there."

And not wanting mum and dad to have all the fun, Deborah and Ian's youngest daughter Orfhlaith, 14, has also been getting in on the Commonwealth act.

She's part of the 150-strong community cast performing in the On Common Ground production at the Citizens Theatre, alongside the Debajehmujig Storytellers from Canada.

"We open the show and do a chant. It's really exciting to work on something that's part of everything going on for the Games," she said.

The celeb spotters

Image caption David Jackson and Becky MacFie await the arrival of a mystery guest at a press conference at the SECC

Over at the main press centre for the Games at the SECC, there was a buzz among the volunteers.

"When I turned up I was told that someone rather tall was coming for a press conference," says Becky MacFie, from Edinburgh.

She was among the lucky ones who had a front row seat at the arrival of the sporting event's biggest attraction, Usain Bolt, manning the entrance as the world's media stream in and jostle for position.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Usain Bolt's arrival at the Games was eagerly awaited

Alongside her was David Jackson. He says: "I won't quite be able to tell my friends I held the door open for Usain but at least I can say I shut it over once he was in."

And with other recognisable athletes either competing or providing punditry, and the Royals - including The Queen, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry - joining spectators at some venues, a bit of celeb spotting is one of the perks of the job.

Another volunteer, Tamsyn Kennedy, adds: "You apply to be a volunteer and you hope you get to be in the room with someone like Usain Bolt… and then it's finally happening."

The award winner

Image copyright Other
Image caption Jenny Thomson enjoyed the 1970 Games so much she's back for more working at the Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh

As a 21-year-old, Jenny Thomson gave up her own time to work as a medal bearer at the Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh during the 1970 Games.

Now the PE teacher from Aberdeen is back for more, at the same venue, 44 years later.

And she's been recognised for her efforts by Prime Minister David Cameron. He presented her with a Point of Light Award, celebrating outstanding volunteers.

"It was a huge surprise. I thought it was a joke to begin with but it was real," she says.

Her experience of previous Games made her useful in recruiting the new army of volunteers. She helped interview potential Clydesiders.

"The passion that came through the door was overwhelming. Everyone had an amazing story to tell.

"It's fantastic being a volunteer. Everyone is a big family. It's a real buzz.

"We all pull together and get the job done."

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