The Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay has now visited 68 nations and territories of the Commonwealth in 253 days, with visits to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales remaining in the international journey.
It comes as, today, the Queen’s Baton Relay has completed its journey through the Isle of Man with visits to NSC Athletics Track, Peel Castle and Tynwald Hill.
In recent weeks the Baton has visited Commonwealth nations and territories spanning North America, South America, and Europe, including Bermuda, Canada, Gibraltar, Falkland Islands, Jersey and Guernsey.
The Relay officially began its 294-day journey on 7 October 2021, and by 28 July 2022, it will have visited all 72 Commonwealth nations and territories, bringing cultures and communities together in the lead up to Birmingham 2022.
When each Commonwealth Games Association hosts the Queen’s Baton, they organise an impressive schedule of events to celebrate their local heroes, untold stories, and sustainability efforts.
In Bermuda, Clarence Hill, the territory’s first Olympic medallist, carried the Baton into Heron Bay, where locals school students were excitedly waiting for their arrival and the chance to interact with both the Baton and the athlete.
There was a wealth of activity when the Baton spent four days visiting four-time host country Canada. On 26 May, the Baton visited McMaster University, partner institute to University of Birmingham, Official Partner of the international sector of the Queen’s Baton Relay, where McMaster staff and students, sportspeople and schoolchildren had the special opportunity of carrying the Baton. The University highlighted the research it does, including work on healthy aging, as well as collaborations with McMaster on air pollution and water. Professor Francis Pope, who led work on the Baton’s electronic ‘lungs’, gave a public lecture on air quality data being gathered on the Baton’s journey. Later, the Queen’s Baton was presented in the pre-game show for the Hamilton Tiger Cat’s football match, giving all the spectators a chance to witness the Relay.
The following day, Longines, Official Partner of the Queen’s Baton Relay, invited Mandy Bujold, Commonwealth Games boxing medallist, to carry the Baton at Niagara for an incredible finale of the Canadian Relay.
The Baton visited a variety of landmarks in Gibraltar, including Top of the Gibraltar Rock and the Skywalk, where Batonbearers were treated to spectacular views of three countries, spanning two continents. Batonbearers Adrian Lopez, Charles Harrison and Kieron Alvarez were chosen to take part after raising money for charities by completing the ‘5 in 5’ challenge, which is finishing five half ironmen in five consecutive days.
In the Falkland Islands, young members of the Scouting association and Girlguiding UK carried the Baton along the picturesque coast at Victory Green. During the Relay, three veterans had the special honour of carrying the Baton through Memorial Wood, which commemorates the soldiers who fought in the Falklands War.
Batonbearers carried the Baton to the Falklands Conservation area in Fox Bay, which looks after and researches King Penguins.
While the Baton visited Jersey, Batonbearers visited Greve de Lecq beach and took the Baton kayaking. Batonbearers also carried the Baton at many local sports facilities to engage with as many clubs and members as possible. The visits included FB Fields and Jersey Rugby Club.
Batonbearers in Guernsey paraded around Castle Cornet and watched as, at precisely midday, the Castle’s gunners marched outside to perform a gun salute. The Baton was also taken to Herm, an entirely car-free island.
The route in the Isle of Man saw the Baton visit Peel Castle and Tynwald Hill, an ancient meeting place thought to date back to the first millennium. Charity fundraiser, Christian Varley was among the Manx Batonbearers; he raised more than £83,000 for people affected by Covid-19, by completing 19 marathons in 19 days.
The international visits are in addition to a five-day celebration and tour of London, over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend, 2-6 June. Highlights of the weekend included a boat trip on the Thames stopping at landmarks such as the London Eye and Big Ben; spending a night in the Tower of London with the Crown Jewels, closely guarded by Yeoman Warders; and visiting sporting venues at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
On July 4, the Baton will return to England for the final stretch of its 294-day long journey, spending two days in each region, except for the West Midlands, where the Baton will spend ten days visiting the host region, before coming to an end at the Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony.
Lisa Hampton, Head of the Queen’s Baton Relay, said: “The nations and territories that the Baton has most recently visited have given us an insight into their thriving communities and local histories. From beaches in Bermuda to a castle in Guernsey, we have had the pleasure of seeing spectacular places and remarkable people carrying the Baton.