Her Majesty The Queen will launch the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace tomorrow at a public ceremony featuring Scotland’s greatest-ever Commonwealth and Olympic athletes, Allan Wells MBE and Sir Chris Hoy MBE.
The ceremony will be attended by Commonwealth and Games dignitaries and broadcast live on BBC One. Sprint legend Allan Wells, winner of two Commonwealth Golds and the 100m Olympic sprint title at the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, will be the first athlete to receive the Baton from The Queen and start it on its historic journey round the 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth, calling the 4,500 athletes to Glasgow for the Games.
Participants in the event will include HRH Prince Imran, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) and Lord Smith of Kelvin, Chairman of the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee. They will be joined by representatives from the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council.
Sir Chris Hoy, six-time Gold Olympian, double Commonwealth Gold medallist, and UNICEF UK Ambassador, will be the Baton’s special escort as it make the processional journey down the Mall, accompanied by pipers to the ceremony itself.
This is the first formal moment for the Baton, a unique object specially-designed for Glasgow 2014 in Scotland. The titanium, wood and granite creation symbolises Glasgow and Scotland’s culture, history and innovation by combining leading-edge technology with traditional skills and craft. The Queen will place her message within it after which it become the Baton’s visual core, illuminated but unreadable until the Opening Ceremony.
Lord Smith of Kelvin, Glasgow 2014 Chairman, said:
“The Queen’s Baton Relay is a great tradition of the Commonwealth Games and a wonderful opportunity for Glasgow and Scotland to share our culture and heritage with the citizens of the Commonwealth. The launch event at Buckingham Palace marks a real milestone moment for Glasgow 2014 as the QBR builds momentum towards Glasgow and Scotland’s moment on the global stage. The QBR has the power to create memorable moments none more so than seeing the UK’s greatest Olympian Sir Chris Hoy and Scotland’s most successful Commonwealth athlete Allan Wells taking part in the ceremony which will see the baton off on its epic journey.”
CGF President, HRH Prince Imran, said:
“Everyone loves the Queen’s Baton Relay, especially children. It brings with it a little of the excitement of the Games, and the unique magic of the Queen’s message. The Glasgow 2014 baton is a particularly fine design, one which reflects the wonderful creativity of the Scottish people and the natural beauty of Scotland. Wherever it goes it will also provide an excuse for a cracking ceilidh!”
Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council Chairman, Robert McVeigh, said:
“It’s wonderful to be part of this launch which marks another milestone as we head towards next year’s Commonwealth Games. We’re excited about welcoming the Baton to Northern Ireland for four days, starting on May 20th. We’ve been working on a program which will engage the public and promote the Games and our athletes. We plan to showcase the wonderful heritage and culture that we have here in Northern Ireland.”
Olympic and Commonwealth legend Allan Wells, MBE said:
“As the final runner of the Queen’s Baton Relay at the last Commonwealth Games on Scottish soil in Edinburgh in 1986, the baton and what it symbolises is incredibly special for me. It is a real honour for me to now be named as the first baton bearer for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. To be invited to take part in the ceremony at Buckingham Palace and begin the baton’s epic journey around the Commonwealth is a personal highlight for me and I look forward to following the journey of the baton until its return at the Opening Ceremony next July.”
UK’s greatest Olympian and UNICEF UK Ambassador, Sir Chris Hoy, said:
“I am so proud to be taking part in launching the Baton. It brings together three of my life’s passions – sport, Scotland and making a difference for children. What could be more important than UNICEF and the Glasgow 2014 Games coming together to use the immense power of sport to transform children’s lives around the Commonwealth, including at home in Scotland? The Baton beginning its journey around the Commonwealth supported by young people will be a great day - and one that I hope will signal change in a great many lives.”
Later that day the Baton departs Scotland for Delhi – host city of the 2010 Commonwealth Games – from where it will visit EVERY nation and territory of the Commonwealth, before travelling the length and breadth of Scotland on the way to its final destination – the Opening Ceremony.
Over 248 days and 198,000km the Baton visits all the nations and territories of the Commonwealth and will be the first Baton ever to visit Rwanda. The international journey of the Baton will be captured by global adventurer Mark Beaumont who will report for The One Show, BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio Scotland, along with BBC News outlets, and online. The Northern Ireland leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay will be covered by BBC NI.