Commonweath games baton carriers wanted

The search is on for community champs to star in the Dumfries and Galloway leg of Queen’s Baton Relay ahead of next year’s Commonwealth games in Glasgow.

The baton will travel across the globe through the 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth carrying a special message from Her Majesty the Queen, but the final lap of the Queen’s Baton Relay will be its last 40 days travelling the length and breadth of Scotland, including Galloway.

Commonwealth Games Scotland and Glasgow 2014 need up to 4,000 special people to be the baton bearers given the honour of carrying this unique symbol of the Commonwealth Games towards its final destination and the Opening Ceremony of the Games.

On Wednesday at Buckingham Palace there was a simple but moving ceremony involving Olympic and Commonwealth legends, Sir Chris Hoy and Allan Wells MBE, Scottish athletes, world-renowned classical violinist Nicola Benedetti and young people from Scotland and the Commonwealth. At the ceremony, Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, placed Her message into the beautiful titanium and elm wood Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton.

Her Majesty’s message will form the core part of the baton which will travel throughout the Commonwealth and across the Home Nations before returning to Scotland and featuring at the Opening Ceremony in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.

Before it departed on its 190,000km, 248-day international journey, the Queen’s Baton was brought to Stirling, the heart of the country and home of Commonwealth Games Scotland, to launch an appeal for nominations for the baton bearers who will carry it through the communities of Scotland in June and July of next year.

From June 14, 2014 and for the following 40 days, the Queen’s Baton will travel to all parts of the nation, visiting every local authority area.

Council Leader, Ronnie Nicholson, said, “The Queens Baton Relay unites two billion citizens of the Commonwealth and we are delighted that the Queens Baton Relay will spend one whole day in Dumfries and Galloway.

“It will travel east to west across a large part of our local authority and while in our region will look to visit some local sports events, schools and community celebrations.”

Around 100 baton bearers will carry the baton each day with the relay reaching more than 400 communities during its 40-day journey.

The relay will reflect the important role sport plays in the community by visiting schools, sporting facilities and leisure centres and through a range of events and activities supported by the sportscotland Active Schools Network. The support is focused on encouraging communities to get behind Team Scotland, get involved with the Games and using its profile to get more people participating in sport.

From now until 22 November anyone can nominate their own local champions to be baton bearers. To be a baton bearer, people are required to:

• Be 12 years old or older at the date of nomination

• Have made a positive contribution to the lives of others through community sport

• Undertaken voluntary work or contributed to schools or youth organisations

• Contributed towards greater inclusion for disadvantaged or marginalised sectors of the community

• Been a role model or mentor to youth through sport

• Displayed a level of individual achievement against the odds

• Made a significant contribution to their local community

Nominations can be made online from today on the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games website www.glasgow2014.com

A Judging Panel including representatives from a wide cross section of Scottish community organisations will assist in selecting the successful nominations for each local authority area.