Commonwealth Games England today announced the eleven Londoners who will be playing a central role when the Queen’s Baton Relay arrives in London on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 June.
The community heroes, who hail from across the capital, were nominated for their contributions to their communities in the areas of youth politics, coaching, education and community sports initiatives.
The batonbearers will carry the Queen’s Baton around festivities being planned to celebrate London’s sporting life on the weekend that marks the midpoint of the English leg of the Relay, as it nears the end of its international journey.
Dame Kelly Holmes, President of Commonwealth Games England, said: “Our England batonbearers are going to play a crucial part when the Queen’s Baton Relay arrives in England on May 31, and none more so than the relay comes to our capital.
“They have all been selected due to their passion for sport and the way in which they share this with their communities and look to get people involved and active.“
To celebrate the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay, a Festival of Sport will be held on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Sunday 8 June. This free celebration will be the biggest mass participation sports event on the Park, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together to try new sports. More than 30 different sports and activities will take place across the Park throughout the day, from football and Frisbee games, to fitness boot camps, dance workshops and mini cricket. There will be a range of inclusive sports such as wheelchair basketball, fun and games for all members of the family of any age or ability.
The Festival of Sport is one of the flagship events in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park’s Active People, Active Park programme, which offers local residents, of all ages and abilities, a huge range of opportunities to get active–right on their doorstep. This three year programme will see tens of thousands of people try new sports and take up old sports in and around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Dame Kelly said: “I’m encouraging everyone in London to get involved when the Queen’s Baton Relay comes to the capital. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be hosting an incredible celebration of sport on Sunday 8 June and everyone can join in. If you can be there then please go and cheer on your batonbearers and be part of the Team England send-off to Glasgow!”
Dennis Hone Chief Executive London Legacy Development Corporation said:“It is a real honour to host the Queen’s Baton Relay at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than a Festival of Sport. With more than 30 different sports and activities free for everyone, no matter what your ability, it is the biggest mass participation event we have held. I would encourage anyone to come to the Park on 8 June cheer on the Queen’s Baton and try a new sport at the same time.”
Sport England Chair, Nick Bitel, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for Londoners to revisit the scene of one of our greatest summers of sport and try out the venues from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Festival of Sport will offer a wide range of sport for people to try and I hope Londoners will take advantage of the opportunity to play sport in their newest public park. “
The baton has so far visited 64 of the 70 Commonwealth nations and arrives in the UK on 20th May ahead of a four-day tour in Northern Ireland and a week in Wales. It will arrive in England on 31st May to begin its penultimate leg of the Relay in Manchester and will visit 16 different locations en route to its final journey through Scotland to the start of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The XX Commonwealth Games takes place in Glasgow from 23rd July to 3rd August. Commonwealth Games England is sending a 400-strong team to compete across the 17 sports.
For more information, interview requests and details of media opportunities around the Queen’s Baton Relay please contact Anna Young at Run Communications (M) 07799 064676 or at [email protected]
Batonbearer Kace Bartley from Lambeth
Kace Bartley has come a long way since taking part in Lambeth’s Community Squash sessions. Now ranked regionally at number 1 and nationally at number 3 in her age group, Kace was noticed competing for the Borough at the London Youth Games by the squash National Governing Body and selected to join their training programmes. She is now part of the London and South East regional U17 team and is also involved in the National squad and England Development Pathway. She is a wonderful example of the importance of community sport opportunities for developing talent in young people.
Batonbearer Jonathan Bennett from Newham
16 year-old Jonathan Bennett – a student at Cumberland School – represents young people’s views and interests in his role as Young Mayor of Newham. He has been selected due to his passion for working with young people and tirelessly volunteering his own time to voice views and opinions of others. He is currently planning to host a range of activities that will help young people become more active and confident with a series of Borough-wide events ranging from debating, entrepreneurial skills workshops and sports activities.
Batonbearer Ashley Cooper from Hackney
Ashley is the Head Coach and founder of Hackney Kings Boys Basketball Club, which he started in 2012 whilst at universty. Ashley is a a keen basketball player and believes basketball can be used as a positive influence on young people in Hackney – just as it was for him. His club not only teaches basketball but encourages young people to improve their education and social skills, and Ashley offers continual mentoring to his club members.
Batonbearer Brian Dickens from Lambeth
Brian has played a significant part in the development of sport in Lambeth within key community groups and continues to be a key driver for the direction and provision of sport. He has been at the forefront of the regeneration of the multi-sports Black Prince Hub sports facility in the north of the Borough and has facilitated a number sports opportunities at the hub for young people. Brian also works to enlist support from high-profile companies including Nike to ensure that residents and young people are able to access quality sporting provision within their community.
Batonbearer Rebecca Donnelly from Lambeth
Rebecca has worked tirelessly over the last five years to help disaffected young people in London gain access to sporting activities and provide them with training and qualifications. She was instrumental in setting up the charity Fight 4 Change, organising projects that have had a massive impact on the young people attending sessions offering boxing, football and other sports. As both project manager and hands-on coach, Rebecca has single-handedly made a positive impact on the hundreds of lives touched by her projects.
Batonbearer Jim Howell from Waltham Forest
Jim has taught in Waltham Forest for over 40 years, setting up numerous sporting opportunities for young people. He developed school sports leagues, borough championships in athletics and cross-country and is heavily involved with local gym, volleyball, rugby and gymnastic clubs. Since 1980, Jim has managed and coached Waltham Forest’s London Youth Games Teams in volleyball, athletics and weightlifting and is an enthusiastic coach, teacher, mentor and organiser, committed to improving the sporting offer for young people in the borough.
Batonbearer Faramolu Johnson from Southwark
Fara is a huge supporter of basketball within Southwark. He coaches young children with MACPRO basketball in the Damilola Taylor Centre, Peckham, and is a volunteer youth worker there. After a tragic death in the basketball community, Fara kept the club going and is now trying to get basketball into local schools. He is also a member of the Southwark Youth Sports Panel and the Southwark Youth Council alongside studying for his A Levels. Fara is an excellent role model to Southwark’s young people and an exciting prospect for the future.
Batonbearer Carlton “Tony” Moody from Lambeth
Carlton is a role model for young people in Lambeth and, as an ambassador of cricket for 20 years, has worked diligently to ensure opportunities are offered to a cross section of young people across the Borough. Carlton’s passion for cricket led him to develop a version called Catchy-Shubby, designed to ensure inclusivity. The game is widely recognised not only within community but also by Surrey County Cricket Club and helped strengthen the game’s profile in the Borough. Carlton continues to remain an active and dominant presence in the Borough and provides opportunities for all to participate in the sport.
Batonbearer Daniel O’Sullivan from Barking & Dagenham
Danny has been involved with Dagenham Police and Community Boxing Club for well over 20 years. As well as helping to train over 4,000 boxers during this time, he has dedicated his time to engaging young people. Through this, he has provided a positive directional and supportive role in reducing offending levels, encouraging education and improving both the health and well-being of the Barking and Dagenham Community in partnership with the Metropolitan Police and other agencies. Danny was rewarded for his hard work by receiving the freedom of Barking and Dagenham.
Batonbearer Michael Pusey from Southwark
Peckham BMX Club began in 2004 when Southwark Council and Edwards Bike Shop approached local DJ and entrepreneur CK Flash (AKA Michael Pusey) to take on the challenge of clearing a patch of waste-ground – and so the club was born. After tireless work and opening with just four members, it quickly attracted scores of local children and grew to become the number one club in the UK by 2008. It was an amazing achievement in such a short space of time and bears testament to the club’s mentality, the kids’ determination, the coaches' inspiration and the incredible CK Flash.
Batonbearer Jonathan “JJ” Webb from Greenwich
From New Eltham, JJ began fencing at the relatively late age of 11 years old but has quickly worked his way to the top of the under 17 British Cadet rankings and finished the 2012-2013 season as the British number 1 for the second year running. JJ is the Under 20 National Champion in the sabre discipline and is a member of the British Fencing World Class Performance Programme. His ultimate goal is to take gold at the 2020 Olympic Games.
Commonwealth Games England (CGE) leads and manages the participation of the Team England at the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. We are affiliated to the Commonwealth Games Federation and work closely with the various sports’ National Governing Bodies (NGBs), funding partners such as Sport England, our commercial sponsors and Organising Committees. Our purpose is to help develop athletes and their sports, and to achieve success at Games-time.
The Queen’s Baton Relay in England is funded by Sport England and the National Lottery.
London’s newest visitor destination,Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, is a place unlike any other. Visitors to the Park are able to enjoy beautiful parklands and waterways, world-famous sporting venues, arts and events and spectacular views from the ArcelorMittal Orbit. As a new heart for east London, the Park will also provide new homes, jobs and a cultural and education quarter.
The London Legacy Development Corporationpromotes and delivers physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the surrounding area, in particular by maximising the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.