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Supporting our 2nd Team

Calum Graham, Lead Officer Active Schools and Community Sport, Dumfries & Galloway Council

19/03/2014
Blog / International
Calum Graham from Dumfries & Galloway Council joined 'Support a 2nd Team' partners Northern Ireland to celebrate Commonwealth Day in style.

NICGC Assembly As part of our Commonwealth Week celebrations, I was delighted to join our Depute Council Leader Councillor Brian Collins and council colleagues at the Northern Ireland Assembly's Commonwealth Day celebrations.

Having never visited the very impressive buildings at Stormont - the Parliament Buildings in Belfast – it was fantastic to attend as guests of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council as part of our involvement with the ‘Support a 2nd Team’ initiative, promoted by sportscotland.

‘Support a 2nd Team’ links every Commonwealth Games Associations (CGA) with one of the 32 regions in Scotland, offering the opportunity for communities across Scotland to build friendships with our Commonwealth neighbours so that they feel welcome and at home when in they come to Scotland for the Games this summer.

Team Stranraer with NI sport ambassadorsHaving first established our friendship back in September 2013, when we invited the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council and 25 young sports ambassadors to take part in Dumfries & Galloway’s Active Games, we were delighted to see members of the committee and all the young people again.

It was a memorable day and we were blown away by the welcome and hospitality we received. Many speakers celebrated the Commonwealth including our own Depute Leader Councillor Collins, Chair of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council Robert McVeigh (pictured right), Mark Montgomery - a Weightlifter who had the honour of carrying the nation’s flag at the 2010 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Delhi, and London 2012 Olympic Silver Medal cyclist Wendy Houvenaghal. We also heard from two of the Northern Ireland young sports ambassadors and Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Mr William Hay, MLA.

D&G delegation with NICGC and NI Assembly membersHowever, the best was kept for the end when the Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda treated the entire audience to a performance in the Great Hall. The choir played African drums and performed a number of songs with engaging dance routines from their native country. They were endearing and even more so when they finished by hugging every person in the hall.

It was a marvellous finish to a marvellous evening, when friendships were cemented not just for when we return with 39 children from Dumfries & Galloway in May for the Belfast Active Games, and not just for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, but for many years to come.

Pictured right: Dumfries & Galloway delegation with members of the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council, Northern Ireland Young Sports Ambassadors and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Find out more about Dumfries & Galloway’s Games legacy programme