2014 Games volunteers urge others to grab last chance to get on board

Linda Harper has given up hundreds of hours of her time over the last eight years to help make sure some of Glasgow's most important events have run smoothly.

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Linda Harper, far right, and Carla Giampietro are volunteers for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
Linda Harper, far right, and Carla Giampietro are volunteers for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

The 53-year-old, who is a carer for her 72-year-old father, James Cleary, has helped with music, cultural and sporting events.

Now Linda, of Cardonald, is hoping she will be able to offer her experience to be part of the Commonwealth Games when they are held in the city next year.

She said it would be a "great honour" to take part.

Linda added: "I think it is amazing for our city. We are going to have people from all over the world again so it will be great."

The grandmother-of-two first started volunteering at the Special Olympics in Glasgow in 2005.

Since then she has helped at the World Pipe Band Championships at Glasgow Green, the Women's 10K run at Bellahouston Park and the Great Scottish Run.

During last year's Olympics she volunteered as a Glasgow Ambassador at Hampden Park, working at the Merchant City Festival and helping people with directions outside the stadium during the matches and offering a "friendly smile" to all the visitors.

After the Games, Linda took her four-year-old grandson Nathan to see the athletes in George Square, where they met six-times Olympic gold winning cyclist Sir Chris Hoy.

She said: "That was amazing. He signed my pass and signed my grandson's 'kid-on' medal."

Linda loves volunteering and is urging everyone who can to sign up for Glasgow 2014.

She said: "It is amazing. A lot more people should do it because you get such fulfilment out of doing it and meeting and helping people."

While Linda is a seasoned volunteer, Glasgow 2014 is the first major event Carla Giampietro has signed up to try and be part of.

The 47-year-old Italian came to the city 15 months ago to study English at Anniesland College, where she has written a project on the Commonwealth Games.

Carla, who stays in the East End, said: "I would like to give my support to Glasgow, my host city, in this great event.

"I am looking forward to joining one of the biggest multi-cultural sporting events in the world, meeting new people from different countries, having the opportunity to meet the athletes, and giving my energy and my enthusiasm to the Games.

"If I think about the sports, the athletes, and how many people will be involved, I feel full of energy.

"I would urge others to join this great worldwide competition that I am sure we will never forget.

"Be proud to support Glasgow in this spectacular event, even if you are from another country. It is your chance to make Glasgow history in 2014."

Another potential volunteer, Ed Castro, has a specific reason for offering his time to the Games.

The 24-year-old swimming coach trained for three years with 2012 silver medallist swimmer Michael Jamieson ahead of last year's Olympics.

Although a shoulder injury meant he could not compete in London, Ed was there when Michael, 24, from Robroyston, won his medal.

Ed, from Bedford, near Luton, said: "That was an unbelievable experience. I was lucky enough to be in the stands when Michael's race came on. I have been to a lot of international competitions but have never experienced anything like the sound I heard on his last length.

"The floor was vibrating. I could really feel it in my chest and it gave me massive goose bumps everywhere."

The pair trained together at Bath ITC, where Ed specialised in the 200m butterfly.

But, at Christmas 2011, Ed ripped the tendons in his shoulder, an injury that required a major operation and scuppered his chances of completing the trials and securing a place at London 2012.

Not wanting to upset the team dynamic, the coach asked Ed, who came eighth in the British Championships in 2009 and had represented Great Britain in open water swimming, to stay on with the team until the Games began.

So he continued to train with the swimmers and applied to be a volunteer Games Maker.

He was an athletes services team member, which meant he helped the athletes in the preparation area, ensuring they had everything they needed.

On the night of Michael's final Ed was on athlete seating duty and cheered him on. Afterwards, he met him during the Games Maker debriefing.

Ed said: "I saw Michael with a big smile on his face and I got up, we had a hug, he showed me his medal and we looked at each other and smiled. It was 'job accomplished'.

"That was the stand-out moment for me."

Now Ed has signed up to volunteer at 2014, where he is hopeful he will be able to watch Michael and other British swimmers win medals at Tollcross Aquatics Centre.

He said: "I am hoping our swimmers from our countries can do better than they did in London across all events.

"Being a part of that would be awesome."

matty.sutton@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Applications close this Thursday. For more information see: https://volunteering. glasgow2014.com/

If I think about the sports, athletes and people involved, I feel full of energy

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