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Queen meets Games volunteers

The Queen has met staff and volunteers preparing for the Commonwealth Games as excitement around the competition builds in Glasgow.

The monarch was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh for a behind-the-scenes look at venues in the city.

The royal couple received a tour of Kelvin Hall, which is home to the uniform and accreditation centre for the Games, where they spoke with volunteers and staff.

The Queen, wearing a Karl Ludwig pale buttercup yellow crepe coat, floral silk dress and Angela Kelly hat, was shown around by Commonwealth Games staff, including head of accreditation Adrian Wood and operations manager Ed Saayeng.

He said: "The visit was a brilliant experience. She was much more laid back than I expected and very open and interested in what we are doing here."

Around 15,000 volunteers have already collected their accreditation for the Games, from a total of 50,000 expected to pass through the centre's doors before the competition begins later this month.

The Queen, who last visited Kelvin Hall in 1951 to open an exhibition of industrial power, was presented with a special accreditation pass during the tour.

Mr Saayeng, 31, from London, said: "For the Queen to take the time to come here and be presented with her accreditation, and I'm not sure that's been done before, we really appreciate that."

The royal couple spoke with volunteers on the accreditation team, including Louise Martin, 19, from Maybole.

She said: "We only found out we were meeting the Queen this morning so it was really exciting.

"I wanted to volunteer at the Olympics but couldn't then, so with the Commonwealth Games being in my home country, I really wanted to be a part of that.

"Everyone here is so excited and can't wait for the Games to start - this is the first big step."

During the visit, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were presented with a Glasgow 2014 tartan tie and shawl.

They also heard about the future restoration of the historic B-listed building on Argyle Street, which has had many incarnations over the years including music hall, Scottish basketball HQ and Museum of Transport.

A large crowd gathered to cheer the couple as they left for the city's Emirates Arena.

Before leaving, the Queen accepted a bouquet of flowers from Linda Skinner, 32, from Glasgow, who had brought eight-month-old Caleb to meet the Queen.

She said: "It was a lovely moment, I'm in shock."

At the Emirates Arena, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were met by Commonwealth Games and Sport Secretary Shona Robison MSP, Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson and chief executive of the 2014 organising committee David Grevemberg.

They visited the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, named in honour of the UK's most successful gold-medal winning Olympian and Scottish Commonwealth Games champion.

The royal couple watched the Scottish cycling team using the 250-metre track designed by leading track designer Ralph Schuermann.

In the adjacent Emirates Arena, one of the largest facilities of its kind in Europe, the Queen and Duke viewed the construction of the badminton courts and met Team Scotland badminton players.

They also met those involved in the construction of the arena before attending a private lunch.

Later the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh travelled to Dumfries House, near Cumnock in East Ayrshire, where they were met by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, known as the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland.

During the visit, the monarch officially opened The Queen Elizabeth Walled Garden by unveiling an engraved sundial before a crowd of more than 1,300 donors, volunteers, staff and members of the local community.

The opening of the garden comes almost seven years to the day since Charles first purchased the house in June 2007 with funding from a consortium of charitable foundations.

In a speech thanking those who helped restore the garden, he said: "It was always my intention in saving Dumfries House we should open the house and its estate to the public for the community to share and enjoy.

"As well as being a visitor attraction, I hope the garden is a source of much enjoyment and pride for the local community, which has done so much to support this house and estate."

The garden is one of the largest of its type in Scotland and had been neglected for around 250 years.

Members of the local community who began clearing the site in October 2011 discovered the remains of a vine house, greenhouses, steps and paths.

They created a clear area around a 350-year-old sycamore tree that stands in the centre of the five-acre garden.

The project to restore the area required 47,000 handmade bricks, 5,000 tonnes of soil and four miles of vine wire.

One third of the garden is used to produce vegetables and it features an education centre that welcomes more than 3,000 primary school children each year.

Last year marked the completion of the restoration programme and several new educational facilities at Dumfries House, and also saw the first visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.


From Belfast Telegraph