North Northumberland is gearing up to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay which arrives in the region tomorrow on its way to Glasgow.
In the run-up to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow the baton left London in October last year on its journey through 70 nations and territories, covering 190,000km.
Carried by volunteers throughout each country the baton, which contains a message from the Queen, reaches the last leg of its journey when it arrives in Northumberland tomorrow, before returning to host country Scotland at Coldstream Bridge on Saturday.
Celebrations will take place at Alnwick Castle as the baton enters the town.
It will be carried by four Northumberland sporting champions - young sports volunteer Shannon Tyler, 17, from Blyth; 16-year-old slalom canoe athlete Zac Allin; paralympic athlete Stephen Miller from Cramlington; and Blyth boxing coach Les Welsh.
“To carry the Queen’s baton in Northumberland means the world to me,” Les said. “I would like everyone to enjoy this occasion and be proud of not only our country but also the county we live in.”
All four baton bearers will be helping schoolchildren in years eight and nine from across the county to become the potential future stars of Team England, with a day filled with sporting fun activities.
The castle will then open its doors to ticket holders during the evening to host a special celebration of the journey of the baton.
A dynamic programme of live music, video footage and interviews will be weaved together in a special ceremony marking the presentation of the baton from Commonwealth Games England to the Commonwealth Games Federation, who will then take the baton forward on to its final journey through Scotland.
Grant Davey, leader of Northumberland County Council said: “I am looking forward to Commonwealth Baton arriving in Northumberland for a full day of cultural and sporting celebrations.
“Northumberland County Council is proud to be hosting this prestigious event that will mark the final leg of the baton’s international journey in true Northumbrian style. This will be a memorable day for everyone involved and one which should live long in the memory.”
Alnwick will be the only opportunity to see the Commonwealth baton in Northumberland before it arrives back in Scotland at Coldstream Bridge at 7.40am on Saturday, when a special reception will welcome it to the host country.
The arrival in Coldstream will be screened live on the BBC. A ceremony hosted by BBC’s Fred Macaulay, welcoming the baton into Scotland, will be held on Coldstream Bridge which will be lined by 75 young volunteers from across the Borders, each holding either a Commonwealth flag or a Glasgow 2014 flag.
Coldstream Pipe Band will be there and four runners will take it in turn to carry the baton from the bridge up to the town’s Henderson Park where a special Queen’s Baton Relay event is being held, hosted by TV presenter Jenni Falconer.
The baton will stay in Coldstream until 8.30am before heading for Edinburgh.