East End gets its own 'beach' for the Games

DANCERS brought a touch of Indian culture to Glasgow's East End when a community park was transformed into a beach scene to celebrate the Commonwealth Games.

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The park at Calton was transformed into a beach
The park at Calton was transformed into a beach

Tons of sand, water and deckchairs have turned Elcho Gardens in the Calton into a seaside oasis where children and adults are being treated to free ice cream.

And organisers have decided to highlight several countries as part of the celebrations. Indian dancers entertained crowds yesterday while today a Caribbean steel band was due to play.

Tomorrow the spotlight will focus on Australia, while all-things Scotland complete the fun on Friday with traditional tartan and a piper.

Firefighters are topping up the pool with water each morning to keep the kids happy while council workers constantly rake the sand to ensure it stays safe for use.

Community activist Betty Cosgrove is one of the organisers. She said: "It's been really great. The kids have loved it and so have the adults. Everybody is having so much fun we're thinking about doing the same next year.

The fun was made possible by a £9500 grant from four lottery organisations - Big Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund and SportScotland.

One of the main co-ordinators is Rosie Robertson, manager of the Calton Heritage and Learning Centre. Mrs Cosgrove added: "Rosie and her team have been phenomenal."

East Enders have had to endure a lot in recent years as the city got Games ready. Major building work brought a lot of disruption, especially for families in Dalmarnock.

The makeshift beach with almost 30 tons of sand has allowed locals to let their hair down and hold their own celebrations as Scotland's hosts its biggest ever multi-sports event.

And Betty Cosgrove is in no doubt that local people have appreciated the gesture. She added: "We had almost 200 people turn up on the first day, which was unbelievable.

"It's only a small park but it was packed. Even the dads turned up to enjoy themselves. We've been handing out food and free ice cream.

"They are liking it so much that people are literally guarding the beach with their life. There's not been a pickle of bother and it would be great if we could do it again next year."

gordon.thomson@ eveningtimes.co.uk


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