Thousands of people will today (Monday 31 March, 2014) learn they are carrying the Queen's Baton, a thank-you from communities all across Scotland to the extraordinary individuals who make a positive difference to the lives of others.
Up to 4,000 batonbearers from all 32 Local Authorities will join the relay in more than 400 communities for 40 days, in what is the most engaging relay the nation has ever seen.
Thousands of people will be notified by email on whether their nominations have been successful.
For the first time in the history of any relay, all 545 secondary schools in Scotland were invited to nominate a pupil to participate as a batonbearer.
Community batonbearers have been selected by independent panels, who have considered people’s achievements against the odds, their mentoring of young people, contributions to community and youth sport, and those who make a difference through volunteering and community support.
The Queen’s Baton journey has been developed to share the excitement of Scotland’s countdown to the Commonwealth Games with as many people as possible.
The relay will reflect 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 use its profile to get more people participating in sport.
On 23 July, the message Her Majesty placed in the baton will be read at the Opening Ceremony.
The Queen’s Baton Relay is the world’s most engaging relay, a unique tradition of the Games that unites the two billion citizens of the Commonwealth in a celebration of sport, diversity and peace. It will travel over 190,000 kilometres through 69 nations and territories of the Commonwealth, before arriving in Scotland on 14 June.
Those nominees who have not been successful will have the opportunity to be a part of the relay by attending the vast programme of sports and cultural events taking place along the route.
Community and schools batonbearers include:
Community batonbearer Linda Anderson-Kerr (55), from Oban.
Linda has been nominated for her volunteering work with Distance Highland Befrienders, supporting people who live in remote and rural areas, and who experience mental health issues or have dementia. Reacting to her successful nomination, Linda said:
"When I found out I was to be a batonbearer I was quite overcome to be honest, it's a great honour. The Queen's Baton symbolises the coming together of Commonwealth Nations. My volunteering work is about community inclusiveness and trying to stop isolation, and so, on some level, it’s parallel to what the Queen's Baton is all about. To be chosen is just amazing; it’s a bit of history I'm getting to be a wee part of."
Schools batonbearer Robert Miller (14), from Dunoon
Robert Miller was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age and the family was informed he would never be able to do sports. Despite also having a heart condition, these days Robert excels in many areas of sports, including athletics and football. He has medalled six times at the Scottish Disability Athletics Championships and trains monthly with the Scotland Football Association Development Squad. Reacting to his successful nomination, Robert said:
“I was quite surprised to hear I’d been selected as so many people got nominated. What I remember from those athletics competitions is getting to the finishing line and then waiting nervously until I heard I had won a medal! Sport really helps with my cerebral palsy, and makes my legs a lot stronger. I would say to other young people in similar situations to live their lives, to try the things they want to try, and not put their heads down”.
Community batonbearer Alan Stewart (50), from Eddleston (Peebleshire)
Alan Stewart underwent a life-saving kidney transplant in 2009; since then he has been committed to raise awareness for organ donation. Together with his wife Susan they are completing 100 sporting challenges to celebrate their 50th birthdays. Reacting to his successful nomination, Alan said:
"It's an honour to be nominated as a batonbearer, so when I learnt I was being selected I was so excited. My transplant transformed my life. I've been given the chance to enjoy sport again, in a way that I did before my kidneys failed. The Queen's Baton Relay will give me the chance to show organ donation in a positive light and I can’t wait to carry the baton through my local community.”
Community batonbearer Elizabeth Ferris (27), from Dundee
Three years ago University of Dundee medical student Elizabeth suffered a Spinal Cord Injury which resulted in her becoming a full-time wheelchair user. A keen sportswoman, she founded the Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Rugby League Club, to give other users the chance to take part in competitive sport.
Before its formation there were no sporting opportunities in Dundee for active wheelchair users. The club now has 20 registered members representing all age groups and levels of ability. It enjoys excellent support from the local community and has expanded to offer regular Wheelchair Basketball, Tennis and Curling sessions alongside its core Rugby focus.
Reacting to her successful nomination Elizabeth said:
"After my injury I didn't think sport was possible, so it's great to be able to stay fit and active and it helps keeps my mind clear. I always loved playing sport and now I'm in a chair that's no different. It's a huge honour to have been chosen as a batonbearer. Hopefully it shows other wheelchair users that their disability doesn't have to define them. There really are no barriers to what you can achieve".
Commonwealth Games Scotland Chairman Michael Cavanagh said:
“The athletes striving to be selected for Team Scotland will be truly inspired by the determination, courage and selflessness shown by all the selected batonbearers in different walks of Scottish life, and their commitment to helping others. It is fantastic that they are being recognised and rewarded with a coveted place in Scotland’s leg of the Queens Baton Relay and we thank them for their enthusiasm and support. We are confident the Queen’s Baton Relay will get the whole country behind the Games and Team Scotland in particular, as we collectively make our final journey to Glasgow 2014.”
David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014, said:
"We want to congratulate those batonbearers who will be carrying the Queen's Baton across its 40 day journey through Scotland. We've been overwhelmed and humbled by the hard work, courage and perseverance of so many inspiring people. The Queen's Baton Relay is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for communities to celebrate everything that's great about Scotland, and thank the extraordinary batonbearers who selflessly make a positive difference to the lives of others."
Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, said:
“As Scotland continues to gear up for the biggest sporting and cultural event we’ve ever hosted, the Queen’s Baton Relay route across Scotland offers a unique chance for people across the whole of the country to be involved with and engage in this summer's Commonwealth Games.
“From the 14th June, this ultimate symbol of the Games will make its journey within each Local Authority, and will be proudly carried across Scotland by 4,000 batonbearers. It is a truly fitting way to celebrate and recognise those everyday champions who do incredible things for the lives of those around them, and who have made an exceptional contribution to their local community, in particular through sport or their work with young people.”
Councilor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
“People Make Glasgow and people across both city and nation will today find out that they have been chosen to represent their communities by carrying, with pride and passion, the Queen’s Baton. I’ve no doubt that the batonbearers will enjoy a fantastic reception from the people of Scotland as the relay continues toward its final destination, right here in Glasgow.”