Renfrewshire is tomorrow, Thursday 17 July, set to welcome the Queen’s Baton with a range of extraordinary batonbearers taking part in day 282 of the baton’s journey through 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
Scottish singer and actress Clare Grogan, also known as the lead singer of 80s new wave band Altered Images is set to carry the baton in Johnstone, whilst journalist and broadcaster Shereen Nanjiani will take the baton to Erskine Mains Home.
The Queen’s Baton will begin its journey through Renfrewshire in Howwood and will travel through towns and villages including Lochwinnoch, Kilbarchan, Johnstone, Elderslie, Linwood, Brookfield, Bridge of Weir, Houston, Langbank, Bishopton, Erskine, Inchinnan, Renfrew and Gallowhill, before arriving in Paisley for the evening celebrations, with the baton arriving on stage shortly after 6.30pm.
The baton will be carried by a varied group of astonishing individuals who make a difference to the lives of others. At 85 years of age, Bill Ferguson is the oldest baton bearer in Renfrewshire. Bill continues to play an active part in his local community, holding the role of vice chair of Glenburn Community Council and as a board member of a local resource centre. He also undertakes a wide range of tasks in the local community from collecting the mail to leaving waste out for collection.
12 year old Lauren Collie is the youngest batonbearer in Renfrewshire. Lauren was born with Down's syndrome, but that hasn’t stopped her from leading a fully active life. She is a Seconder in the Brownies in Renfrew, and was asked to escort the flag in this year's Remembrance Day parade. Lauren also has the 1,000m swimming badge to her name, and is the current school boccia champion. Joining the relay in Bishopton will be Angela MacVicar, who has spent years working with cancer charities. She was with the Anthony Nolan Trust for 10 years, during which time her own daughter lost her battle with leukaemia. She now chairs her own charity, Rainbow Valley, which is going from strength to strength.
Athletes set to carry the Queen’s Baton through the Renfrewshire area include athletic runner Katrina Hamilton, the first batonbearer of the day, javelin thrower Karen Costello, field hockey forward Samantha Judge, badminton player Kirsteen Miller and cricketer Majid Haq.
A unique tradition of the games, the relay offers people across the country a chance to be a part of the excitement, celebrations and countdown to Scotland’s biggest-ever sporting and cultural festival and show their support for the home team.
For the first time in the history of the Commonwealth Games, a pupil from every school in Scotland has been nominated to get involved in the celebrations and carry the baton, making it the world's most engaging relay to date.
Nearing the end of its 190,000 km journey through the 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth, by the time the baton arrives at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony, it will have covered 4,000 km in Scotland alone, showcasing the nation’s culture and iconic landmarks during its visit to over 400 communities across all 32 local authorities.
The relay reflects the important role of sport by visiting schools, sporting facilities and leisure centres, encouraging communities to get behind Team Scotland, get involved with the Games and using its profile to get more people participating in sport.
Commonwealth Games Scotland Chairman, Michael Cavanagh, said:
“The Queen’s Baton Relay is the ultimate symbol of the Commonwealth Games and its arrival in Renfrewshire and journey through Scotland is an important signal to both the athletes and the public that the Games are just around the corner. The relay offers residents in Renfrewshire the ideal opportunity to celebrate community sport and show support for their local athletes selected to represent Team Scotland at Glasgow 2014. We hope everyone the length and breadth of the country will get behind the team and play their part in what is going to be an amazing home Games!”
David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014, said:
"The Queen’s Baton Relay is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for people across Renfrewshire to celebrate what’s extraordinary and unique about their community, and honour those locals who make a difference to others. The baton is visiting hundreds of villages, towns and cities across Scotland with thousands taking part in the relay, and many more attending the vast programme of sports and cultural events along the route. It's a great reason for Renfrewshire to get out and celebrate the countdown to the biggest festival of sport and culture this nation has ever hosted".
Councillor Jim Harte, Convener of Renfrewshire Council's Sport, Leisure and Culture Policy Board, said:
"Renfrewshire's position as the home of Glasgow Airport and the Gateway to the Games means we are uniquely placed to celebrate this historic moment. The arrival of the baton on Thursday 17 July will be a day of celebration, with all 15 local towns and villages set to feature on the route, and around 150 batonbearers getting the chance to make their own little piece of history. With a range of community events and the chance to take part in every one of the 17 Games sports, there will be something for everyone on a day that I am sure will live long in the memory. For a full run-down of everything happening on the day, please visit www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/qbr."