Commonwealth Games baton arrives in St. Aubin
by Jeff Hathaway
A large crowd of well-wishers, local and national press and television and a host of dignitaries all gathered at St. Aubin on Sunday 11th May as the Queen's Baton touched down in Britain for the first time back on home soil in its epic tour of the Commonwealth ahead of the 2014 Games.
The baton was carried by Olympic bronze medallist diver, Tom Daley who said he was "so honoured" to take on the key role for the big arrival in Jersey, which marks the start of the home nations leg of the baton's 288-day international journey and the final run-up to the July 23 opening ceremony in Glasgow.
The relay began at Buckingham Palace in October 2013 and the hand-crafted baton contains a personal message from the Queen calling the athletes of the Commonwealth to Glasgow for the start of the Games.
"I've followed the baton's journey around the world since it began last October, so it's very exciting to be in Jersey as it begins the home nations leg," Tom Daley said. "This is the time for everyone to get behind their home teams as the baton's arrival reminds us that the Games are just around the corner. I'm counting down the days!"
Daley was joined by 23-year-old Team Jersey medal hopeful and British indoor championship shot-putter Zane Duquemin in carrying the baton from St. Aubin's Harbour to the Parish Hall.
A welcome from Parish Procureur Peter Norman was followed by speeches from chairman of Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Lord Smith of Kelvin, Commonwealth Games Federation European vice-president Chris Jenkins, and Commonwealth Games Association of Jersey president Alan Cross who said, : "We couldn't ask for a better build-up for Team Jersey as we draw close to the Games. We are honoured, as the southern-most Commonwealth Games Association territory in Britain, to be entrusted with the Queen's Baton as it commences its final leg of the relay en route to Scotland and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games."
Tom Daley and his baton entourage were invited into the Parish Hall for some warm St. Brelade hospitality while two young Jersey swimmers, Fran Stubbings and Robbie Jones, both aged 12, carried the baton around St Aubin.
For the next 32 days, the baton will travel through Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Wales and England, rallying athletes as they get ready to compete for medals in Glasgow. A 40-day journey through 400 communities across Scotland will begin when the baton reaches the proud host nation of the 2014 Games.
The Queen's Baton Relay is a much-loved tradition of the Commonwealth Games. Up to 4,000 baton-bearers will take part in the Scotland route of the relay, with an average of 100 carrying it each day.