By Duncan Mackay

Glasgow 2014_mascot_Clyde_with_hands_on_hipSeptember 20 - A thistle man named Clyde has been unveiled as the official mascot of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The mascot, which has been named after the river which flows through the Commonwealth Games host city, was designed by Beth Gilmour, 12, from Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire.

She won a competition which attracted more than 4,000 entries from across the United Kingdom.

Clyde was unveiled in a ceremony at BBC Scotland's Glasgow headquarters located appropriately on the banks of the River Clyde, after a special animated film, narrated by 2014 Games ambassador Billy Connolly.

He was welcomed on stage by swimmers Rebecca Adlington, the Beijing 2008 double Olympic champion, and Michael Jamieson, who won a silver medal in the 200 metres breaststroke at London 2012. 

More than 150 local schoolchildren gave Clyde a rousing welcome.

"I still can't believe that my entry is now the Glasgow 2014 mascot," said Gilmour, who won four tickets to Opening Ceremony of the Games as part of her prize.

"It's amazing to see Clyde come to life and I'm so happy that my design and idea will now be seen by everyone across the world."

Gilmour is herself a swimmer who competes for Cumbernauld Swimming Club.

"To know that I have played a part in Glasgow 2014 is incredible and I hope everyone across Scotland and the Commonwealth love Clyde as much as I do," she said.

Clyde is described, by Glasgow 2014 organisers, as being a "patriotic and adventurous thistle who will be the friendly face of the Games". 

Glasgow 2014_mascot_Clyde_cyclingThe choice of a thistle as the mascot for Glasgow 2014 was described by Billy Connolly as the "perfect choice and has a great history and meaning in Scotland"

The judges said that Gilmour's design was "chosen for its Scottish symbolism and Glaswegian charm and likeability. 

"Her entry interpreted this much-loved symbol with a youthful energy – embodied by a cheeky facial expression – and strong, sporty thistle arms and legs.

"The thistle uniquely represents a symbol as much at home in the modern, urban heart of Scotland's largest city as it is in Scotland's remote, epic landscapes."

It is the first time since a mascot made its debut in the Commonwealth Games at Edmonton in 1978 - when a grizzly bear called Keyano was chosen - that an animal has not been picked by the host city.  

"The Glasgow 2014 Mascot has been created for young people, and what better way to do that than through having a competition for those young people to design it," said Lord Smith, the chairman of Glasgow 2014.

"It is important that young people are at the heart of the Games – Beth's design captured the imagination and the spirit of not only the Games but also of Glasgow and Scotland.

"Clyde is the cheeky but friendly face of Glasgow 2014 and will take the Commonwealth Games message to the people of Scotland. He will help bring the personality of the Games to life and he will welcome spectators and athletes from all over the world to the Games."

Glasgow 2014_welcome_Clyde_the_mascotGlasgow 2014 organisers hope that new mascot Clyde will be a massive hit

Clyde's story is inspired by the past – a real ship called the SS Cameronia built on the Clyde in 1920 - but set in the present day.

Connolly, arguably Scotland's best-known comedian whose career started working as a boilmaker in the shipyards along the River Clyde, has already taken the mascot to his heart. 

"Clyde's a great wee thistle and it's a very, very good idea and a fantastic design by Beth," he said.

"The thistle is the perfect choice and has a great history and meaning in Scotland, plus Clyde's got a smashing haircut that makes him very modern and gives him a lovely edge!

"The River Clyde is unbelievably special to the people of Glasgow, it's one of the sole reasons for Glasgow being here and I personally believe the thistle is a brilliant plant, it really is rather special.

"The combination of the two really celebrates everything that's great about the city and Scotland."

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