For decades Frank has encouraged and mentored young people - from all backgrounds – to participate in sport and in the Boys Brigade. With the latter he was BB Captain of 1st Airdrie for two decades (and Best Company for 10 years), was then made President, and then later is now the Battalion’s Honorary Vice-President. He encouraged members to take part in cross country running, and organised the National Boys Brigade cross country races.
Today the Queen’s Baton entered the heart of host nation, North Lanarkshire. The county, which is situated in the central belt of land between Scotland’s capital Edinburgh and Games city Glasgow, provided an active day of non-stop fun for the relay’s batonbearers.
It was a date for the kids as the relay continued its mission to allow one child from every school in Scotland to hold the baton by visiting Stepps, Chapelhall and Wishaw Primary schools and Coatbridge’s St Andrews’ High School. Strathclyde Country Park will not only host the evening celebrations but will be the idyllic home to a triathlon, which will traverse around Strathclyde Loch, running concurrently with the relay.
The relay bustled past some of North Lanarkshire’s most iconic landmarks and sights. Into Cumbernauld the relay visited the home of Scotland’s beloved orange soft drink, IRN BRU, to get a glimpse of the beverage’s girder-bending secret recipe.
Tom then handed the baton to the days final batonbearer Scottish TV presenter Carol Smilie as it approached Strathclyde Country Park.
Amidst all the revelry there were some moving moments when baton carriers who have overcome personal tragedy ran with the symbol of the Commonwealth cementing their status as local heroes.
One such runner was Paul Holmes. Back in 2007, Paul contracted an extremely rare and debilitating disease - Chronic Q Fever – which required dual-heart valve replacement and life-long treatment with highly-aggressive medications. He lost 65% of his muscles but in a true embodiment of the Commonwealth spirit, Paul has refused to let his condition hamper his life. Paul founded Antonine Athletic Youth FC, which uses football to divert youngsters from offending or anti-social or harmful behaviour. He also set up Kelvin Valley Honey which provides employment for house-bound people.
Anne McPherson perhaps received some of the biggest cheers of the day. Anne lost her little boy Cullan to a rare genetic condition. Demonstrating remarkable resilience and compassion for others, Anne then went on to raise £10,000 to charities researching Leigh’s Syndrome and £8,000 for Children’s Hospice Association Scotland. Charities close to her heart that supported her and husband Craig when Cullan’s condition worsened.
Anne carried the baton with a big smile and indicative of the high calibre of baton beaeres North Lanarkshire produced.
When Anne lost her little boy Cullan, she stayed extremely strong, and was “a rock” to her husband Craig. She’s since raised over £10,000 for research into Leigh's syndrome and over £8,000 for CHAS, two charities close to both her and Craig’s hearts. She’s well-known at the Asda where she’s worked for 29 years, and has no fear about dressing up to raise money for the charities. Anne is a truly resilient and caring character.
North Lanarkshire is tomorrow, Monday 23 June, set to welcome the Queen’s Baton as it travels through the area, with a range of extraordinary batonbearers taking part in day 258 of the baton’s journey through 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
The Queen’s Baton Relay will venture across North Lanarkshire, stopping by the home of IRN BRU in Cumbernauld, to get a glimpse of the beverage’s famous secret recipe. It is then set to visit a stream of schools, including Stepps, Chapelhall and Wishaw Academy Primary, as well as Coatbridge’s St Andrews High School. The Summerlees Museum and Chilterns Nursing Home is part of the day’s relay, whilst the villages of Chryston and Newmains are also set to welcome the baton.