Manchester – Day 235
The Queen’s Baton Relay’s arrived in England, marking the two week countdown to the end of the relay as it journeys toward Scotland.
First of all the baton was handed over form the Comonwealth Games Association’s Chris Jenkins to the Commonwealth Games CEO, Adam Parker at the Manchester Velopark Bridge.
The people of Manchester and the surrounding area certainly welcomed the baton back to the last UK city to host the Games in 2002.
The baton was carried across the Velopark Bridge by 17-year-old Valerie Zebrokova a talented BMX-er cycling alongside the GB cycling team and was welcomed outside the National Cycling Centre.
The journey through the Manchester area continued to the Regional Arena & National Squash Centre before heading to Congleton. It was here that the baton saw the largest crowd of the day with over 10,000 people coming out to cheer the baton.
Bryan Robson, the former England and Manchester United captain was next to greet the baton at Old Trafford. The baton was paraded around the Theatre of Dreams before children representing Unicef carried the baton to the centre of the pitch.
A short trip to the Manchester Central library finished off the batons tour of the city as the Lord Mayor of Manchester gave a resounding speech in honour of the baton.
Sheffield – Day 236
Nick Matthew, current World Squash Champion and native of Sheffield proudly held the Queen’s Baton as it toured his hometown.
The day began with the sun's splitting the sky in High Bradfield, the small rural village of the Peak District. Locals from the town had lined the street to greet the baton with the England band drumming up support amongst locals.
From there the baton was taken to Concord leisure centre where it was paraded before a Q&A with Matthews. The English institute of Sport greeted the baton as received a guard of honour before a plaque was unveiled to honour Matthews achievements.
The baton was greeted by Team GB swimmer James Kirton and double Commonwealth Silver cyclist Bryan Steel, happy to become a part of the Queen's Baton Relay in Sheffield.
The baton then travelled to Birmingham where a special sporting area was set up outside main public buildings such as the town hall and the public library. The baton, cheered on by locals was paraded through town before visiting local school children at parks across the city.
The day concluded with an encouraging sport event outside the library before the baton headed south to Plymouth and Bristol.
The beautiful morning in the West Country began in Plymouth, home to Commonwealth Gold medalist Tom Daley.
The baton would have a quick visit to the Plymouth Life Centre, where the Deputy Leader of Plymouth, Councillor Peter Smith gave a welcoming speech to herald the baton’s arrival in the famous port city. There it was greeted by local school children before moving onto Bristol.
The Bristol Harbour side was alive with events. The baton travelled by boat to the All Aboard Centre and was paraded through the Millennium Square, before being met by the Lord Mayor of Bristol, councillor Faruk Choudhury.
The baton, having had so much fun in the by the sea, headed south to Southampton to participate more events and visit the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth II.
Southampton – Day 239
Next on the agenda for the baton was the grand Queen Elizabeth II docked in Southampton.
Carried aboard by Iwan Thomas and James Saunders, the baton was greeted by the crew of the vessel before being taken to the Grand staircase and the bridge where the captain welcomed the batonbearers.
Iwan and James were asked to sign the ships log book, reserved for distinguished guests, with the inaugural signature from Her Majesty the Queen.
From there the baton attended a street carnival at the end of the day featuring an outdoor diving display by Commonwealth multi medallist Peter Waterfield. The historic day was capped with the Olympian diving from 25 metres a height he had never attempted before!
Kent – Day 240
Kent saw the baton in the presence of one of Britain’s finest athletes with Dame Kelly Holmes carrying the baton to Tonbridge Castle.
Scores of local school children and residents showed up to cheer on the baton. Lizzie Yarnold was also on hand to bear the baton. The summer sun guaranteed a huge turnout and those who came out were elated to see the baton progress through Tonbridge.
This was to be an emotional homecoming for Lizzie as she carried the baton to her old training track. Hundreds of fellow Dartford Harriers and local school children came out to cheer her on. Maidstone then saw a Q&A with Dame Kelly Holmes cap an eventful and star studded day.