Team Scotland was represented at the 2020 Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey by Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Squash competitor Kevin Moran and Gold Coast 2018 weightlifter Lisa Tobias, both members of our Athlete Advisory Panel. They teamed up to give us a glimpse behind the scenes and tell us about this special event in their own words:
A few days beforehand we got in touch with each other to chat wardrobe for the event, would it be the tracksuit from 2014? Or perhaps the sleeveless bespoke top from the sunny climate of Gold Coast in 2018? Anyway, after much deliberation and consideration we came to the conclusion that there was only one route to go… we would KILT UP for this prestigious honour in Westminster Abbey.
Neither of us knowing too much about the event…or knowing London very well…or being very good at flying…and just struggling to have a general sense of direction between us, we seemed like the perfect duo to take on such a challenge!
So up in the air we went in our matching kilts and one hour and lot of turbulence later we arrived down in sunny (ish) London town. For two people with no sense of direction we made it to Westminster with bags of time, straight for a coffee and then back out in the cold to wait for the other athletes arriving at our designated meeting spot. One by one they all fetched up, first a rep from the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), then a runner from England, followed by a gymnast, also from England, then Martin our CGF point of contact then Denise Lewis then…Wait….What…WHY IS DENISE LEWIS HERE!?!? A bit star struck we chatted away to a very glamorous looking Denise and waited for our last two athlete reps from Northern Ireland.
Once Northern Ireland’s netballers arrived it was straight into the Abbey to see where we’d be sitting, a picture with Denise and then a quick briefing from Martin on what we would be doing for the next few hours… Which went as follows “Just go and chat to the hundreds of school children that are sitting down”. Pressure was on!
They were all so grateful and lovely. We were greeted with ear to ear smiles and books for us to autograph. All of them so well behaved and so nervous / excited to see Antony Joshua and the Queen in the flesh! What a treat it was getting to chat to them all about the Commonwealth sports we do, their hopes and dreams and what they were most looking forward to about the day.
We were placed in line for the procession and, thanks to our Team Scotland kilts, we were first to go! After a very speedy briefing of “left foot first and just follow me” we were all set. Thankfully we didn’t crumble under the pressure and made it down the aisle (very slowly) whist passing and smiling to a lot of the school children we’d just met.
Time now to take our seats whilst we excitedly awaited the arrival of the Royal Family and celebrities which included Anthony Joshua, Alexandra Burke and Craig David. One by one they walked in through the main entrance of the Abbey with its 2,000 strong audience and took their seats not too far away from us.
The incredible line up did not disappoint. We were incredibly honoured to hear Anthony Joshua’s thoughts on the Commonwealth, as well as listening to music by Craig David and Alexandra Burke, all whilst sitting right across from the Royal Family. This event being Harry and Meghan’s last made it all the more special.
At the end of the service we walked out commenting on how incredible and immaculate the Abbey is. What an experience and honour. One we’ll never forget.
Our final challenge remaining was to find our way back to the airport and we……smashed it, well almost, we only got on one wrong train!
Thanks Team Scotland for an incredible day.
Lisa Tobias and Kevin Moran