A truly inspirational woman whom perfectly embodies the essence of vitality of the Commonwealth Games, 89 year old Betty has been immersed in both sports and charity fundraising for the whole of her life. She has been entertaining in-and-around the community of Stewarton since she was a young girl, and has been heavily involved in a variety of sports, including coaching netball and women’s football.
East Ayrshire today welcomed the Queen’s Baton as it travelled through the area, with a range of extraordinary batonbearers taking part in day 256 of the baton’s incredible journey through 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth as it makes its way towards host city Glasgow.
The route was packed with visits to East Ayrshire’s towns and villages as the relay team passed through Dalmellington, New Cumnock, Auchinleck, Galston, Stewarton, Crosshouse and ended Day 8 in Kilmarnock.
The East Ayrshire residents gave the Queen’s Baton a warm reception as it travelled the length and breadth of the county. The relay team were invited to join three local galas. Lainshaw Primary School and Annadale Gardens in Crosshouse were the latter two hosts, after the baton visited Dalmellington Sports Gala and paid homage at the statue of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns.
There were smiles all round when later in the day the Glasgow 2014 mascot, Clyde, paid a visit to the paediatric ward at Crosshouse hospital where he delighted the children in the ward by bringing the baton to their beds.
Ayrshire Athletics Arena was the next stop for the relay and Team Scotland coach Chick Hamilton had the honour of carrying the baton, before passing it to Kilmarnock Harrier Athletics Club stalwart Hugh Rankin.
East Ayrshire produced some remarkable characters to carry the baton. Like local celebrity Peter Lee who is aged 87. Hardy Peter survived a triple bypass and displays his gratitude for having his life back by running in half-marathons and collecting money for the British Heart Foundation. Peter even auditioned on the X Factor to help the BHF gain publicity but while his unique spoon clacking didn’t go down well with Cowell and Co, Peter’s spoon-clacking baton run got a huge cheer from East Ayrshire residents.
There must be something in the water or the region’s famous Killie Pies because the East Ayrshire batonbearers were a fearless bunch. George Scott, like many of the day’s runners, is a formidable force in local charity fundraising. George has skydived, ran the London marathon, ran the Edinburgh marathon, completed Tough Mudder and ran the Glasgow half-marathon all in the aid of Ayrshire Cancer support, raising thousands of pounds in the process.
East Ayrshire’s largest town, Kilmarnock brought the days proceedings to a close as local hero and Commonwealth Weightlifting Silver medallist Peter Kirkbride brought the baton on to the stage to climax a sensational day in East Ayrshire.