Thomas is a lower limb amputee from St. Lucia. He has lived in Scotland since 2004 and the Borders since 2007.He is a playing member of St. Boswell's Cricket club, and also coaches juniors. Thanks to his enthusiasm and commitment the club have had two successful tours to St. Lucia, and the junior section (which was on the point of collapse) has gone from strength to strength. With his example, a few youngsters who could have gone astray have now turned into decent young men.
Today the Scottish Borders welcomed the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay on its fifth day journeying around the host nation.
The Borders is known for being a Scottish rugby stronghold, with Rugby Sevens being created in this part of the country. So it seemed fitting that this historic area of Scotland played host to the Queen’s Baton.
It was an eventful day with trips to Duns, Tweedbank, Selkirk, Kelso and Melrose. The visit to Melrose, the home of Rugby 7s, included a stop at the town’s Rugby Stadium and the later home of Selkirk Rugby Football Club, before the relay concluded in Hawick’s High Street.
A street festival and evening celebration concluded the day in the Borders, with a packed programme of entertainment in Hawick’s High Street, providing a chance for Borders’ locals to welcome the batonbearers.
The influence rugby union has had on the region could be seen in the batonbearer selection. DunsRugby Club coach Peter Gallagher carried the baton through the eponymous town and Scottish rugby union players both past - Roy Laidlaw - and present – Lee Jones – joined in Jedburgh and Selkirk, respectively.
The sporting theme continued when the baton visited the acclaimed Mountain Mike Centre at Glentress, arguably one of the best bike centres in Britain. There the baton had a bumpy ride as it rumbled around some of the thrilling bike trails Glentress is famous for.
This region has produced some incredibly inspiring batonbearers.
Such as Alan Stewart, who received a life-saving kidney transplant five years ago, since then Alan has dedicated his time to raise awareness for organ donation, along with his wife Susan. Together, they have set the challenge of completing 50 physical challenges before they both turn 50.
Another courageous baton carrier was David Dempster, who has not let total blindness prevent him from running and raising money for charity, carried the baton in Duns.
Taking part in Jedburgh was batonbearer Gemma Scott, a 21 year old who has battled through paralysis to coach children at her local athletics club and volunteer at the primary school.
Bill Watt, aged 91, is a founding member of The Border Ice Skating Club. Bill teaches children up to the age of 16 to figure skate. Bill, currently President, still teaches children to skate, from complete beginners to advanced levels, as well as teaching the volunteer tutors new skills. He interacts with the children, encouraging them every skate of the way, and also brings the tutors together with his infectious enthusiasm.