When she was 10 years old Ellen was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Three years later, she’s still refusing to let the condition get in the way of her sports life. She’s an active hockey and netball player, loves swimming and athletics and has recently just taking up rowing. Juggling her blood levels and insulin is a daily challenge, but she doesn’t let this affect her, instead opting to be more even more active than most kids without any health problems.
The third day of the Queen’s Baton Relay toured Midlothian, just on the outskirts of Scotland’s capital. The relay began in exhilarating fashion as Claire Winthrop, snowboarder and skier, brought the baton down the slopes at Midlothian Snowsports Centre in glorious sunshine.
From there the baton ventured through the towns and villages of Midlothian on a zig-zag route that went through Loanhead, Penicuik, Rosewell , Gorebridge, Easthouses and ended in Dalkeith.
Midlothian school children got the chance to see the Queen’s Baton up close as the relay visited Beeslack, Penicuik and Lasswade High Schools.
The baton also took in Newtongrange’s National Mining Museum and Roslin before concluding within Dalkeith Country Park; a beautiful span of forest which boasts over 500 acres of woodland, providing a perfect respite for the relay team and locals to come together and celebrate Midlothian’s remarkable batonbearers.
One batonbearer was Ellen Brignall, an extraordinary 13-year old who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 10 who were among the first carriers of the day to take hold of the baton. Ellen has the daily challenge of balancing her blood levels and insulin but she doesn’t let this affect her and is sport mad finding time to play hockey, netball, swim, participate in athletics and row. Ellen’s emotions were running high and she was clearly brimming with pride as she took over custodianship of the baton at Hillend.
Another of the day’s stars was Laura Donaldson who received multiple nominations to carry the Queen’s Baton. The energetic Laura somehow manages a full-time job alongside hours of gymnastic coaching each week as well as training four times a week for her own gymnastic development.
Bringing some Holywood sparkle to the event was Scots actor Brian Cox who took the baton at Roslin. Brian gave quite a few onlookers a scare as he balanced the baton on the tips of his fingers, only to clinch the baton firmly and raise it aloft in the midday sun.
Many of the batonbearers have overcome incredible odds to get their hands on the Queen’s Baton. Steven Waterston is just one of these resilient individuals. Steven, a soldier of 20 years before suffering a debilitating neurological condition, was nominated by the Scottish War Blinded for overcoming visual impairment, several strokes, meningitis and over 30 hours of life-saving brain surgery. Steven who refuses to accept any limitations on his life beamed as he carried the baton through Midlothian.