The Queen’s Baton has finished its visit to England, as part of its tour of the Commonwealth nations ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The Baton arrived in the country by military aeroplane from the Falkland Islands. On the morning of Wednesday 16 August, it was parachuted into RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire before being formally received by Commonwealth Games England Chairman Ian Metcalfe and Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin.
This was the first stop on the Baton’s tour of England on its journey through all Commonwealth nations across, 388 days, ahead of the Opening Ceremony on 4 April 2018. England was the 40th destination on the tour, with the Queen’s Baton now moving on to Scotland as it continues its global journey.
Commonwealth Games England Chief Executive Officer Paul Blanchard said:
“We have thoroughly enjoyed having the Queen’s Baton in England, for what has been a thrilling five days, where we hope to have shared the fantastic sentiment of the Queen’s Baton, and the Commonwealth, around our country.”
Following its arrival at RAF Brize Norton, the Baton travelled to London to be welcomed by the Australian High Commissioner and a number of athletes such as Commonwealth and Olympic champion Max Whitlock at the London Guildhall Gallery and Amphitheatre.
The Queen’s Baton continued, on Thursday, to Stoke Mandeville Stadium, home of the para sport movement, and the Lawn Bowls National Championships in Leamington Spa. Commonwealth and Paralympic champion Ollie Hynd, MBE, supported an open sports day at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, before the Baton was greeted by the nation’s leading Lawn Bowls stars at the Lawn Bowls National Championships in Leamington Spa.
Friday saw the Queen’s Baton head to Manchester, where it was joined by English gymnastics stars Ellie and Rebecca Downie at MediaCityUK, Salford in the morning, and England Basketball stars Georgia Jones and Dominique Allen who offered a ‘come and try’ session on a special basketball court at MediaCityUK.
The Queen’s Baton was then greeted by cricket fans at Old Trafford Cricket Stadium for the Lancashire Lightning V Birmingham Bears T20 Blast fixture, where it proudly undertook a lap of honour before the match.
Saturday and Sunday saw the Baton head to Liverpool and Birmingham, who are both currently bidding to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Saturday’s trip to Liverpool commenced with a visit to Liverpool Parkrun at Princes Park, which saw former team England star Beth Tweddle greet the baton, ahead of heading to Albert Dock, ahead of the Clipper Race, before visiting a community sports day held at Chavasse Park. Following a quick trip on a 'Ferry across the Mersey', the Baton was greeted by over 50,000 football fans at Anfield at half time of the Liverpool V Crystal Palace Premier League fixture.
In Birmingham on Sunday, the Baton was given a grand tour of the city, visiting a number of key landmarks throughout Sunday 20 August, including the Bullring, Library, Edgebaston and Brindley Place. The trip to the city commenced with a trip to the New Testament Church of God Gospel Choir, where it was welcomed by the colourful, vibrant and fun members of the church, with the choir treating the team to uplifting music. The Baton then headed to the Alexander Stadium for the Müller Grand Prix Birmingham. It was on display in the fanzone and completed a lap around the historic athletics track by the men’s 4×100m relay team that won gold at the recent IAAF World Athletics Championships.
The Queen’s Baton Relay is a Commonwealth Games tradition that celebrates the Commonwealth’s diversity, inspires community pride and excites people about the world-class festival of sports and culture to come.
The Queen’s Baton carries a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II that calls for athletes to come together in peaceful and friendly competition.