Her Majesty The Queen will launch the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace next week (Wednesday, 9 October) 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), Lord Smith of Kelvin, Chairman of the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee and honorary batonbearers including successful and up-and-coming Scottish athletes and young people who have played a key role in the Glasgow 2014 story.
One of the honorary batonbearers taking part in the ceremony is Monica Dzodzi, an inspirational youth leader from a UNICEF project in Malawi, who is set to represent the young people of the Commonwealth and the ambitions of Glasgow, Scotland, the CGF and international charity partner UNICEF to deliver legacy and positive impact through sport both at home and internationally.
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.
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. The Queen’s Baton Relay is a unique and dynamic opportunity for Glasgow and Scotland to connect with all of nations and territories of the Commonwealth, sharing the excitement and opportunities of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games as well as our culture, creativity and enterprise.
Flags from the 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth will be carried by children chosen by UNICEF UK, the world’s leading children’s organisation and international charity partner of the Games.
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 the 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!”
First Minister, Alex Salmond, said:
“The start of the Queen’s Baton Relay, with two of Scotland greatest ever athletes, is another step towards what will be a momentous year for Scotland. 2014 promises the greatest ever Games, and the Relay will provide a fantastic celebration of sport and culture across the Commonwealth, with Glasgow and Scotland at its heart.”
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
“The beginning of the Queen’s Baton Relay is a very exciting time for us all and a reminder of the worldwide scale of the Commonwealth Games. The Queen’s Baton Relay will visit countries representing almost a third of the global population, forming a countdown to the Games coming to Glasgow in 2014. Its journey will put Glasgow on the world stage and further build the excitement over the next ten months before we welcome the biggest sporting event that has ever taken place in the city. I look forward to the Queen’s Baton coming to Glasgow next summer.”
Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland said:
“The Queen’s Baton Relay is a hugely important part of the Commonwealth Games and we are proud to have six athletes from our past, present and future teams involved as the Baton leaves Buckingham Palace and begins its journey around the Commonwealth.
“The Baton will reach out and touch communities around the Commonwealth, and we look forward to welcoming it back to Scotland next year as we approach our final countdown to what will be a truly unforgettable Games. We hope the public in Scotland will be truly inspired by it and get behind Team Scotland at the Games.”
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 batonbearer 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.”
The Baton returns to Scotland next Thursday (10 October) where, in Stirling, the Scottish route and details of the recruitment of 4,500 Scottish Baton bearers will be revealed.
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 visit all the nations and territories of the Commonwealth and 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.
Note to Editors
1. The Commonwealth Games is an international, multi-sport event involving 71 teams of athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations. The event was first held in 1930 and takes place every four years. Glasgow 2014 will be the 20th Commonwealth Games and will be held from 23 July to 3 August. It will feature 17 sports in 11 days of competition with 261 medal events on show. The Games will play host to 4500 athletes and sell 1,000,000 tickets with the event aided by an army of up to 15,000 local volunteers. Glasgow 2014 Ltd is the official name for the Organising Committee tasked with delivering the Games in partnership with the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and Commonwealth Games Scotland.
2. The first Queen’s Baton Relay was staged for the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff and has been the curtain raiser to the Games ever since.
3. The Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay Baton has been designed by award-winning 4c Design, a key contributor to Glasgow’s vibrant creative sector. Established in 2002 by two design graduates of The Glasgow School of Art, William Mitchell (Product Design) and Robin Smith (Product Design Engineering), it comprises expert designers, engineers and model-makers.
4. Emirates, an Official Partner of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, is the Official Airline of the Queen’s Baton Relay.
5. Glasgow 2014’s other official partner level sponsors are Longines, SSE, Virgin Media and BP. For more information on Glasgow 2014’s full sponsor family, please visit http://www.glasgow2014.com/games/our-sponsors
6. Glasgow 2014, the Commonwealth Games Federation and UNICEF are working together in an exciting partnership that will transform the lives of children in Scotland and throughout the Commonwealth. Using the power of sport and culture this unique partnership aims to inspire, enable and empower the children of the Commonwealth to be the best they can be.
7. To follow the baton visit www.glasgow2014.com/batonrelay
8. For further information please contact Janette Harkess, Head of Media on Janette.harkess@Glasgow2014.com, 030 2014 0140 or 07502 344 400, Kate McCheyne, PR Manager, on kate.mccheyne@Glasgow2014.com, 030 2014 0176 or 07557 565 423, Stephanie Todd Senior Press Officer on Stephanie.todd@Glasgow2014.com or on 030 2014 0611 or 07739 737 207.