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Harriet's Relay Diary
Harriet Roberts

Meet Harriet Roberts - who will be allowing BBC 2002 a peek into her personal Diary as she travels the UK, bringing us all the excitement of following the Baton Relay over 5,000 miles and coordinating coverage of the Baton's progress in the hands of 5,000 runners - from local heroes to major celebrities.

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Latest from Harriet's Diary:

25 July Day 50 - Manchester - Opening Ceremony

Watching the Opening Ceremony at home, I held my breath this evening as a delicate ballerina floated above the Stadium, suspended from a tissue like balloon. She held the Baton like a magical scroll, performing acrobatic somersaults as she was lowered gently to the ground to hand the baton to the final selection of runners who made their way round the track until David Beckham and 6 year old Kirsty Howard handed it to the Queen.

Across the UK, 5 thousand runners, their family and friends, the performers and the audiences who took part in the 49 days of celebrations must have felt as proud as I did at that moment. We have all played our own small part in bringing the Games to Manchester. Congratulations to Di Henry and the Queen's Jubilee Baton Relay team. Go and put your feet up!


24 July Day 49 - Rochdale to Manchester

A large crowd from Rochdale joined us at Hollingworth Lake to see Carl Fogarty carry the baton aboard a superbike first thing, some of whom had been at the party in the town hall last night. The warmth of the Greater Manchester people welcoming the baton back to the City was overwhelming throughout the day as proud local people from all walks of life carried the baton to its party in Albert Square. This evening, I had a fourth floor view from Heron House (the HQ of M2002) where 3 different radio stations broadcast simultaneously, each presenter with their heads and microphones poked out of an adjacent window. The scene they looked down on was like a 'Where's Wally' picture, as the people swarmed into the square. The 6 o'clock news presenter stood out in her bubblegum-pink suit.

A wonderful spectacle, timed to perfection with a diverse programme of acts to appeal to all tastes, climaxing with the arrival of the Baton, fireworks, and tickertape fluttering down on the crowds. A huge round of applause to the director, Billie Klinger in achieving her vision of a fast moving theatrical event to stop the city.


23 July Day 48 - Hadrian's Wall to Rochdale

A mammoth trek downhill Manchester from Hadrian's Wall, passing Lake Windermere and through Blackpool where comedy duo Canon & Ball carried the baton. Despite the rain, the crowds flocked for a wonderful day of family activities culminating in the live show on the Cadbury stage in Rochdale. At the civic reception in Rochdale's town hall we mingled with the Kenyan athletes in their red tracksuits. There's a Christmassy fizziness in the air with so many people running on adrenalin. The friendliness reminds me of a twin town or school exchange visit multiplied by 1 million. The visitors look so pleased to be here and there's a warm welcoming feel from the hosts who have waited to long to show off our wonderful City.


22 July Day 47 - Liverpool to Carlisle

Breakfast aboard the world's most famous ferry today - before journeying through my beloved home county of Lancashire on another long trek right up to the Cumbrian capitol, Carlisle. Jim Bowen carried the baton in Blackburn.


21 July Day 46 - Chester to Liverpool

We got our first sniff of the excitement brewing in Greater Manchester today when the baton visited Quarry Bank Mill, Bramhall Hall and through Stockport where my friend Jane had got all her neighbours out down Edgeley Road. Johnny Vegas ran with the Baton in St Helens. A memorable sunny, Sunday evening in Liverpool where over a thousand people gathered outside the Liver Building on the Albert Dock. Sir Bob Scott, the man who was key in bringing the Games to Manchester, carried the Baton on a Golden Milkfloat handed it to Claire Sweeney. After mounting the stage, fireworks and speeches - she sang her new song, 'When you Believe' - a fitting anthem to the courage, stamina and vision of everybody involved in the Relay. I think I'm getting tired as I'm feeling quite emotional all of a sudden.


20 July Day 45 - Stoke on Trent to Chester

From the Statue to Sir Stanley Matthews in Stoke on Trent - an 85 mile journey to Chester. Sunshine and great crowds today.


19 July Day 44 - Birmingham to Stoke on Trent

Anthea Turner and Nick Hancock caused a stir in Stoke on Trent, as celebrity runners. The girls on the media motorhome told me this evening that 7 dwarfs carried the baton yesterday (hmmm) and also a 106 year old lady, Dorothy Gossage. Manchester rain hit Stoke right at the end of the day so the crowds quickly dispersed once the baton had arrived and done its thing. Let's hope our final 5 days aren't grey and wet like this. Traffic chaos on the M6 - first day of the school holidays but that didn't bother the relay as it never takes the most obvious route. Over dinner some convoy members are saying they don't want it to end. It's hard to believe we have been away all through the World Cup and Wimbledon and Big Brother. Personally I can't wait to get back to my own bed and a large bottle of something red to drink while I watch the Opening Ceremony on Thursday. Fun though it's been, there's Relay life and there's Real life.


18 July Day 43 - Hereford to Birmingham

A trip to Bourneville HQ, Cadbury World for the baton - and a trip in a Cadbury Egg car - well it had to be done didn't it! All the Cadbury employees came out to welcome the baton and a very special relay runner athlete Denise Lewis. It wasn't a bit like the oompah loompahs in the Roald Dahl books. BBC WM Ed Doolan - local broadcasting hero and champion of the masses brought the baton into Centenary Square for tonight's celebrations which included a 25 piece Acapella Choir.


17 July Day 42 - Coventry to Hereford

Lunch by the River in Stratford upon Avon - it's a tough job but someone's got to do it! I felt we were on the upward climb back to Manchester till I saw the signs for Wales and Gloucester. It's like deja vue all over again. Monty Don brought the baton home tonight at the evening celebrations having been handed it by WWII veteran, 79 year old Peter Davies. Final crew night - a party in a marquee with karaoke, lots of wine and a pep talk from Director, Di Henry who called on the troops to 'keep it tight' and enjoy the final week of the relay.


16 July Day 41 - Oxford to Coventry

Convoy crew on their day off went sightseeing at Coventry Cathedral - combining two sections after the bombing suffered in WWII. For me the red SALE signs in a well known department store were far too tempting. Stood like a baglady with laden down carrier bags watching the evening celebration. Fantastic entertainment despite the big trainers and pointy finger style bands which aren't really my scene - but the best stage act I've enjoyed so far. And how I wish I'd been a majorette as a young girl - it's too late now I don't think I could carry off the red gym slip, white socks and pompoms.


15 July Day 40 - London to Oxford

From the Bridge in Hyde Park overlooking the Serpentine to the Boroughs of Westminster, Kensington, Chelsea, and the Prince Albert Memorial, Earls Court and Olympia and on to Windsor Castle for the changing of the Guard. At 3.45pm there was a ride on a rowing boat at Henley on Thames. BBC Radio Oxford hosted the evening celebration at the Kassam Stadium where 2 thousand people watched the baton being received by Sir Roger Bannister. 'Fancy a thing like that coming to our town' said the elderly ladies next to me, cheering and waving their flags.


14 July Day 39 - London

A 5am start with the street cleaners to visit the main sites of the city - Westminster, Big Ben, Tower Bridge a trip on a double decker bus and a london cab. Then a crawl round Dartford, Epping Forest, Redbridge, Enfield, Haringay, Islington and Camden where BBC Sport's John Inverdale was the final runner. Arthur Penny - an Empire Gold Medalist and a member of Belgrave Harriers was my favourite baton carrier today.


13 July Day 38 - London

From Merton to Greenwich for a spectacular maritime evening celebration around the Cutty Sark. Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen carried the baton on to the stage where it was passed hand to hand up an artistic bamboo structure. I loved the daytime pyrotechnics and flutterfetti.


12 July Day 37 - Leeds to London

Up at the crack of sparrows for a spot of running at the Royal Armouries and then on to the Big Smoke. Rugby Players at Twickenham were photographed with the baton and we enjoyed a trip on the Thames. Ian Botham ran in Mitcham, a picturesque village style cricket ground right in the heart of the city. Sally Gunnell brought the baton home for Merton where Tom Watts, Lofty from Eastenders was the MC on stage. There was a traffic incident today in which one of the bikers was knocked off and broke his thumb. The convoy were pushed to the limit to make up 50 minutes lost time against the Friday afternoon rush hour city traffic and in searing heat conditions. A real team effort which earned everybody a glass of wine from Di Henry the director tonight. .


11 July Day 36 - Darlington to Leeds

The baton was the cherry on the cake on a full day of jubilee celebrations as the whole of West Yorkshire came out to welcome the Queen to Leeds. After arriving on the royal train she went walk about in Millennium Square and visited the set of Emmerdale. A spectacular pageant in the afternoon charted 50 years of history for the area. With a cast list that included Betty Boothroyd as the Narrator, Lesley Garrett, Mel B, Richard Whitely and a last minute role written in for Terry Venables. Thousands enjoyed the evening concert in Temple Newsam Park where the baton was received by the Queen herself (having changed from her peach to the turquoise green outfit).

 

The Commonwealth Flag

 
See Also
Yellow arrow UK Route
Yellow arrow Harriet's Diary
Yellow arrow Messageboard
Yellow arrow International Route
Yellow arrow The Runners
Yellow arrow History of the Baton
Yellow arrow Design of the Baton
Yellow arrow Relay Images
Yellow arrow Video Packages

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