REVIEW: Highlights of the games in Glasgow

Northern Ireland's Paul Daly, Neil Mulholland and Neil Booth took silver in the Men's Triples bowls Final
Northern Ireland's Paul Daly, Neil Mulholland and Neil Booth took silver in the Men's Triples bowls Final

After 11 days the sun set on the 20th Commonwealth Games but for thousands of athletes, organisers and volunteers memories of Glasgow 2014 will last a lifetime.

There was an early record too, when an unprecedented appeal by cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy and Hollywood heartthrob James McAvoy on behalf of Unicef raised more than £3.5 million towards education, vaccines and health care for the Commonwealth's needy children.

The sporting action got off to a cracking start for the home nations, with England beginning as it meant go on by taking the very first medal, a triathlon gold for Jodie Stimpson at Strathclyde Country Park.

Scotland's first medal meanwhile went to Aileen McGlynn and pilot Louise Haston who won silver in para-cycling at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. The hosts did not have to wait long for their first gold, with judo star Kimberley Renicks taking the top spot on the podium in the women's under-48kgs.

Not to be outdone, her elder sister Louise completed a family double shortly after with a golden victory in the under-52kgs category.

The thrill of the Games now fully under way, sports fans had little time to mourn the news that Olympic hero Mo Farah would not compete for Team England at the Games due to illness.

When Ross Murdoch snatched gold in the 200m breaststroke from Games poster boy Michael Jamieson, no-one looked more shocked than wide-eyed Murdoch himself.

All cameras were on the world's fastest man, Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt, when he flew into Glasgow ahead of his relay gold and told media he expected to see "a lot of rain and kilts",

There were indeed kilts a plenty - including on the winner's podium - but as temperatures hovered around 27C (81F) during week one, visitors to a traditionally wet Glasgow were seen using their umbrellas as sun shades instead.

As the medals rolled in so did members of the royal family, with the Queen delighting members of the Australian women's hockey squad by "photobombing" a selfie between team mates Jayde Taylor and Brooke Perisat at Glasgow Green, while Harry, William and Kate were spotted cheering from the stands at events across the city.

"Super Sunday" saw more more than 350,000 spectators watch free and ticketed events, including the marathon success of Australia's Michael Shelley who crossed the line to win the men's race with a personal-best time of two hours, 11 minutes and 15 seconds.

But for many UK viewers the star of the event was England's Steve Way, the 40-year-old who completed his transition from a 16-and-a-half stone smoker seven years ago to one of the world's top runners by taking 10th place.

Another undisputed star of the Games was Shetland schoolgirl Erraid Davies who at 13 stole Commonwealth hearts with bronze in the women's 100m breaststroke and lit up Tollcross International Swimming Centre with her smile.

There were reports that everyone was not quite as happy with the Games. Bolt denied he had slurred the competition to a Times journalist, going on to describe the event as "awesome" and thereby reassuring his army of fans.

Among them perhaps were the three security guards who were reportedly removed from their duties after taking a "selfie" with the charismatic sprinter.

Not all the Glasgow 2014 action remained within sporting arenas, with Australian weightlifter Francois Etoundi making a contrite appearance before a sheriff on Thursday.

Etoundi was ordered to pay £400 compensation to Welsh weightlifter Gareth Evans after he admitted headbutting him in the athletes' village earlier in the week.

Back to sport, and there were golds for London 2012 hero Tom Daley in the diving and in the boxing ring Nicola Adams claimed the first women's boxing gold in Commonwealth Games history.

The final evening of the competition saw the BBC One Games audience peak as 8.4 million people tuned in to watch Jamaica take gold and England silver in the men's 4 x 100m relay.

Even the heavy rain - as forecast by Bolt - did not dampen the roar of the 40,000 Hampden crowd who watched with glee as the biggest name of the Games adopted a tartan scarf and danced along to The Proclaimers' anthem I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles).

The sprinter did have a rival for the affection of Games enthusiasts, in the form of a cuddly, purple-haired thistle named Clyde. More than 46,000 of the mascots have been bought since July.

Glasgow 2014 organisers can congratulate themselves on a successful Games if sports fans' biggest disappointment was not being able to get their hands on the now sell-out toy.