Published: Mon 11th July, 2022
Communities across Charnwood came together today (Monday July 11) to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to Loughborough.
Charnwood Borough Council held an afternoon filled with fun activities and live entertainment as the Baton visited the town.
Three Batonbearers including para-swimmer world record holder James Hollis and paralympic discus thrower Dan Greaves completed the relay from its starting point at Queen’s Park through to the Market Place.
James Hollis got the relay underway in Queen’s Park and carried the Baton to the Carillon Tower where it was officially welcomed by the Mayor of Charnwood, Cllr Jennifer Tillotson.
James was nominated for his incredible contribution to swimming and the parasport community. He competed at London 2012 and has recently come out of retirement to pursue his goal of competing at the Commonwealth Games.
The Baton was handed over to Emma Wiggs MBE, a double Paralympic gold medal winner and nine-time World Champion paracanoeist who took the Baton through the park and on to Granby Street.
Paralympic discus thrower Dan Greaves was the final Batonbearer and carried the Baton through the Market Place and onto the stage for a celebration event.
Dan made history at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics by becoming the first British track and field athlete to win a medal at six successive Paralympic Games.
Dan said: “I was delighted to find out I had been nominated as a Batonbearer. It has been a huge privilege to carry the Baton through Loughborough and has been an amazing experience.
“I’ve been training hard in preparation for a home Games and can’t wait for Birmingham 2022 to get underway.”
James Hollis, para-swimmer world record holder said: “It was a fantastic experience and an honour to start Loughborough’s relay through the town centre. Thank you to everyone who came along to show their support.
“Birmingham 2022 is going to be a really special occasion and I’m looking forward to competing in a few weeks’ time.”
Hundreds of residents lined the route in Queen’s Park and Market Place in the sunshine to watch the Baton make its journey through the town.
Children enjoyed free sports activities in Queen’s Park and a live jazz band played to crowds around the bandstand.
There were market stalls and children’s fairground rides in the town centre and a large stage and screen came alive with music and entertainment in the Market Place.
Cllr Jenny Bokor, lead member for Loughborough said: “It has been an absolute privilege to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to Loughborough in celebration of the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“Thank you to our inspirational Batonbearers and everyone who came along to show their support for the Baton and Games. Loughborough has a rich sporting history and the Baton’s visit to the town has provided a fantastic opportunity to inspire residents to get involved in sport.”
Cllr Jennifer Tillotson, Mayor of Charnwood added: “It has been an honour as the Mayor of Charnwood to greet the Baton on its 29-day journey across England.
“Thank you to all of the residents across Charnwood who came out to show their support for the Commonwealth Games and Batonbearers. It has been a fantastic afternoon and an occasion to remember.
"Good luck to all of the Charnwood linked athletes who are representing their respective countries at the Commonwealth Games!”
Before the relay got underway in Queen’s Park, the Baton visited Loughborough University’s campus where a series of celebratory events was held, including a Festival of Sport.
Speaking about the day, Professor Nick Jennings, the University’s Vice-Chancellor said: “Today has been a true celebration of sport and the Commonwealth, and I am delighted Loughborough University has been part of it.
“We have over 100 Loughborough-linked athletes, coaches, practitioners and support staff – representing 10 different nations – attending the Commonwealth Games, and the Baton Relay has been a brilliant way for us to show our support and pride in what they achieved.”
Jo Maher, Principal and CEO at Loughborough College, said: “It was fantastic to join our partners for this incredible celebration of sport, culture and diversity on such a stunning day.
“It is so fitting and such an honour that Loughborough was chosen to host a leg of the baton relay so our communities, who have such a unique connection to British sport, could celebrate and support all the athletes competing at the games.
“Congratulations to everyone who played a part in making the day such a great advert for sport in Loughborough.”
Following its visit to Loughborough, the Baton headed to Derby for the next part of its journey across England.
Birmingham 2022 is hosting the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay – a journey which brings together and celebrates communities across the Commonwealth during the build-up to the Games. In England, the Queen’s Baton Relay will provide the opportunity for communities to experience the excitement for Birmingham 2022, as the 11 days of showstopping sport nears ever closer.
The Queen’s Baton Relay is set to travel the length and breadth of England for a total of 29 days, before culminating at the Opening Ceremony for Birmingham 2022 on 28 July 2022.
For more information on the Queen’s Baton Relay, visit www.birmingham2022.com/qbr
A photo album with more photos from the day can be seen in this Flickr album.