Queen's Baton Relay in England day six: Kent

Key Points

  • The Queen's Baton Relay is the main curtain raiser for the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow between 23 July and 3 August
  • The baton is the Commonwealth Games version of the Olympic torch and carries a sealed, secret message written by the Queen
  • Commonwealth Games England is sending a 400-strong team to Glasgow to compete across 17 sports disciplines
  • Dame Kelly Holmes was a member of Tonbridge Athletics Club
  • The bouncing bombs used in the Dambuster raids were secretly tested off the Kent coast at Herne Bay. There is a statue of their inventor, Sir Barnes Wallis, in the town

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    Good morning 08:00: Hamish Reid BBC News

    Good morning and welcome to our live text coverage of the Queen's Baton Relay on day six of its tour around England ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

    Today we're in Kent, starting in Tonbridge and ending in the county town of Maidstone.

    Among those taking part are Kent gold medal winners in both the Olympics and Winter Olympics.

    Weather for the route 08:01:

    The Queen's Baton leaves Southampton and heads to Kent, Oxford and London over the next few days.

    Stav Danaos

    BBC Weather's Stav Danaos has the forecast.

    For more information on the route the baton will take around the world visit the BBC's Queen's Baton Relay website.

    'Sun is shining' 08:06: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    This morning I'm at Tonbridge Castle where the baton will make its entrance with Dame Kelly Holmes.

    There's a buzz of excitement and England flags are being handed out while a school band plays.

    And there's not a cloud in sight - the sun is shining.

    'Incredible stuff' 08:12:

    Commonwealth Games England tweets: How good were @PeterWaterfield and crew yesterday evening? Incredible stuff. #BatonRelay

    Behind the scenes 08:17: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    Here's BBC Breakfast getting ready to broadcast the baton when it entered Tonbridge Castle earlier.

    Needing sunglasses 08:22:

    Winter Olympian Lizzy Yarnold tweets: Morning Tonbridge! Great to see so many schools out to see the Queen's @Batonrelay2014 #stillinneedofsunglasses

    Dame Kelly with the baton 08:25: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    Dame Kelly Holmes enters Tonbridge Castle with the Queen's Baton.

    Dame Kelly Holmes with the baton
    Meeting Lizzy Yarnold 08:32: Via Twitter

    Millie Knight tweets: I have just met @TheYarnold #she's lovely

    Passing of the baton 08:38:

    Baton Relay 2014 tweets: The passing of the baton: @damekellyholmes begins the #BatonRelay at Tonbridge Castle! Amazing support! @weRengland

    Passing of the baton
    Home town hero 08:39: Hamish Reid BBC News

    Dame Kelly Holmes is in her home town of Tonbridge where she helped get the Queen's Baton Relay under way in Kent. She says she's very proud to be taking part.

    'Electric' atmosphere 08:43:

    Phil Harrison for BBC Radio Kent says the atmosphere in Tonbridge is "electric".

    1D dance class 08:50:

    Olympic skier and snowboarder Jamie Fox tweets: .@damekellyholmes leads a @OneDirection dance class @BatonRelay2014 @WeREngland @Glasgow2014 https://vine.co/v/MDzpBPmm9lg

    People dancing
    Flag bearer 08:53: Hamish Reid BBC News

    Millie Knight, the visually impaired Paralympic skier, is one of the baton bearers.

    She carried the flag at the opening ceremony for the ParalympicsGB team at Sochi 2014.

    Millie has also been studying for her GCSEs at King's School in Canterbury.

    'Very exciting' 08:58:

    Lizzy Yarnold tells BBC South East's Peter Whittlesea at Tonbridge: "It's all very exciting. We're all having fun."

    Baton facts 09:02:

    The Glasgow 2014 Queen's Baton Relay is the world's most engaging relay, visiting 69 Commonwealth nations and territories before returning to Scotland on June 14.

    Warming up 09:08: Hamish Reid BBC News

    Hundreds have been doing their early-morning exercises and warm-ups for the day at Tonbridge.


    Dame Kelly Holmes, Millie Knight and Lewis Church joined the crowds.

    Some Tonbridge facts 09:13: Hamish Reid BBC News

    The late Henry Cooper, Commonwealth heavyweight boxing champion, was a resident of Hildenborough.

    Tonbridge Castle is one of the oldest in the UK with parts dating from the 11th Century.

    The biggest robbery in British history took place in Tonbridge when an armed gang stole more than £53m from a Securitas depot in 2006.

    Who's interviewing who? 09:18:

    Dame Kelly Holmes seems to be interviewing BBC Radio Kent's Phil Harrison.

    Dame Kelly Holmes
    Baton facts 09:23:

    From 14 June, the Queen's Baton will spend 40 days visiting 400 communities across Scotland, engaging with people the length and breadth of the country and building momentum towards the Games.

    For the first time in the Games history, every secondary school in the country has a pupil represented as a baton bearer.

    'Welcome to Kent' 09:31: Hamish Reid BBC News

    Dame Kelly Holmes says: "It's great to be here, and as president of Commonwealth Games England it's brilliant to welcome the baton to Kent.

    "Here in England we're enjoying receiving the baton and it's going to be a great Commonwealth Games ahead of us."

    She says she "might" have had a "bit of influence" in getting the baton to come through Tonbridge.

    Baton quiz 09:39:

    Test your knowledge of the baton ahead of the opening ceremony in Glasgow on 23 July.

    'Really nervous' 09:49:

    Winter Paralympian Millie Knight said it was an "honour " to be asked to carry the baton.

    She said: "I was really nervous but it was amazing - like carrying the flag at the opening ceremony in Sochi."

    Yesterday in pictures 09:56:

    Take a look back at the Queen's Baton Relay in Southampton yesterday with our picture gallery.

    Iwan Thomas at the Queen Elizabeth
    Journey through Kent 10:01: Hamish Reid BBC News

    About 3,000 children will be taking part in events to celebrate the Queen's Baton Relay as it travels across Kent today.

    After leaving Tonbridge it will travel to Dartford, Herne Bay, Folkestone and Maidstone.

    Table tennis team 10:06:

    Commonwealth Games England tweets: TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: We know you love our fancy graphics, so here's #TeamEngland's table tennis team...

    Table tennis team graphic
    Paralympic baton bearer 10:12:

    Earlier BBC News spoke to Winter Paralympian Millie Knight.

    Here she is handing over the baton in Tonbridge.

    Millie Knight and another baton bearer
    Selfie with Dame Kelly 10:19: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    My selfie with Dame Kelly Holmes at Tonbridge.

    Stephanie Barnard and Dame Kelly Holmes
    'Inspiring school children' 10:21: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    Kelly Holmes says: "The sun has come out and great crowds. It's great to see the enthusiasm for the Queen's Baton Relay.

    "It's helping give some focus for the Commonwealth Games which are really important.

    "The children can use this in school - learning about countries and nations and learning about the sports.

    "They are the ones we can continue to inspire."

    'Countdown is on' 10:29:

    Sports studies graduate Andrew Priestley tweets: The countdown to Glasgow 2014 is really on! Can't wait to see the world-class sporting action later this summer. #bbcbatonrelay

    Waving the flag 10:35:

    Children at Tonbridge Castle waved England flags to greet the baton.

    Children waving flags
    Ready and waiting 10:41: Via Twitter

    BBC Radio Kent tweets: Hundreds of children are ready to welcome the Queen's Baton Relay to Central Park in Dartford.

    Famous Dartford people 10:48: Hamish Reid BBC News

    Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards as well as DJ Pete Tong all come from Dartford.

    Anne of Cleves, the 4th of King Henry VIII's wives lived in Dartford after her divorce from the monarch.

    Chris Cook won gold medals at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games for both the 50m and 100m breaststroke.

    Minutes to go 10:50: Via Twitter

    Kent Sport, @KentSport1, tweets: Final preparations waiting for @Batonrelay2014 at dartford athletics track #queensbatonrelay 5 minutes and counting.

    Waiting at Dartford
    Baton facts 10:57:

    Since its launch at Buckingham Palace on 10 October last year, the baton has been passed on by tens of thousands of people on its epic 248-day international journey around the Commonwealth.

    Lizzy inspires 11:04: Via Twitter

    BBC Radio Kent tweets: The @Batonrelay2014 is in #Dartford - Lizzy Yarnold inspires the crowd in Central Park.

    Different sports 11:13:

    Skeleton athlete Lizzy Yarnold tells BBC reporter Stephanie Barnard she's enjoyed meeting people at the baton relay.

    "I'm inside the gym eight months of the year and only have a short window to do my sport so this is about going out and about and making friends," she says.

    She adds the best thing about the Games is getting to see sports that aren't part of the Olympics like netball.

    Selfie of Lizzy Yarnold and Stephanie Barnard
    Representing England 11:19:

    Chesterfield-born table tennis player Liam Pitchford tweets: Honoured to have been selected to represent England at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow!!! @weRengland

    Baton facts 11:25:

    By the time the baton reaches Scotland on 14 June, it will have covered an epic 118,060 miles (190,000km) distance throughout 69 countries of the Commonwealth.

    Baton on track 11:32: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    The baton is moving around the track so everyone here at Dartford gets to see it and even touch it.

    Baton in Dartford
    Huge cheers 11:35: Hamish Reid BBC News

    Kent's Lizzy Yarnold has carried the baton on to the track at Dartford's Central Park to cheers from hundreds of local school children.

    Lizzy mingles 11:44: Via Twitter

    Kent Sport, @KentSport1, tweets: @TheYarnold with Dartford and Gravesham school children @ @DartfordHarrier Track #kentschoolsinspired

    Lizzy Yarnold
    The baton's journey 11:54: Hamish Reid BBC News

    The baton has visited 63 nations and territories of the Commonwealth on its journey to Scotland.

    It's been to the Taj Mahal, underwater in the Seychelles and up the tallest building in the Gold Coast, Australia - the next host city.

    The baton contains a message from the Queen which will be read at the opening ceremony.

    It has an elm wood handle and lattice metal framework inspired by Glasgow's shipbuilding heritage.

    'Very inspiring' 12:04:

    Lawn bowls volunteer John Simmonds is at the Dartford Harriers' running track.

    He says: "I found it very exciting, very inspiring.

    "It's great to see the involvement of the volunteers. They all want to know what's the message inside."

    John Simmonds
    Relay route 12:14:

    Check out the full itinerary for the Kent leg of the baton relay on these t-shirts:

    Kent baton relay t-shirts
    Welcome day off 12:24: Hamish Reid BBC News

    Lizzy Yarnold told BBC Radio Kent's Phil Harrison: "I think it's really important to make sport real for the children. To show them where I trained.

    "There are many places for children to get into sport.

    "We are showing them there are other sports to try. There's something for everyone.

    "It's nice to have a day off from skeleton training and speak to the kids."

    Scooters and judo 12:34: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    In Dartford children have been trying out scooters, hurdling, judo and cheerleading.

    Dartford running track
    Inspiring children 12:44: Hamish Reid BBC News

    Hundreds of school children listened intently as Lizzy Yarnold spoke to the crowds in Central Park in Dartford.

    Lizzy Yarnold
    Photo highlights 12:54: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    It's been a busy morning, kick starting in Tonbridge before driving over to Dartford.

    The sun is shining and even though the torch has now gone they're buzzing from what's just happened.

    I'm here downloading some photos of the morning. It's been busy but well, never too busy for a selfie with Dame Kelly and Lizzy Yarnold - both have achieved so much in sport.

    Camera and computer
    Next stop 13:00: Hamish Reid BBC News

    The next stop on the Queen's Baton Relay is Herne Bay High School where it is expected to arrive at about 13:00 BST.

    The baton will follow a samba band into the roller hockey arena.

    Will the baton bearers be on roller skates too?

    Kent baton bearers 13:10: Hamish Reid BBC News

    The six baton bearers taking part today are:

    • Lizzy Yarnold, from Maidstone - Olympic skeleton gold medallist
    • Millie Knight age 15, from Canterbury - Paralympic skier
    • Lewis Church, age 17, from Tonbridge - athlete
    • Caroline Lorenzo, from Dartford, and John Simmonds, from Maidstone - both volunteers.
    • Roland Gooding, from Sevenoaks who is a head teacher
    Baton facts 13:19:

    The baton has been paraded by elephants in Sri Lanka, sniffed by giant tortoises in the Seychelles and honoured with a national holiday in the island nation of Nauru.

    Picture gallery 13:25:

    We've published a gallery of some of the best pictures from the day so far. You can see the images from the baton's day out in Kent here.

    Children with baton-bearer John Simmonds and a TV crew in Dartford
    Glasgow Games facts 13:35: Hamish Reid BBC News

    More than 50,000 people volunteered to help out at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

    'Great performance' 13:46:

    Kent Sport tweets: Great performance from Northfleet School for Girls at the Dartford leg of the @Batonrelay2014 #kentschoolsinspired

    Rollering 13:58: Hamish Reid BBC News

    The baton bearers at Herne Bay High School are Lizzy Yarnold, Millie Knight, Lewis Church and Roland Gooding.

    Events at the school include singing, a roller dance and roller hockey. Sounds like great fun!

    Celeb mates 14:09: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    Just drove past the County Hall in Maidstone. People sat outside enjoying the sun - probably unaware the baton will be there later. Blue skies and sunshine. Beautiful!

    Off for some lunch now.

    Oh and I've just been retweeted by Dame Kelly. We're mates!

    Lizzy in Herne Bay 14:15: Via Twitter

    Commonwealth Games England tweets: Huge turnout to greet @TheYarnold at Herne Bay High School this afternoon. #BatonRelay #TeamEngland

    Lizzy Yarnold speaking in Herne Bay
    'Really inspiring' 14:25: Hamish Reid BBC News

    Decathlete Lewis Church says: "It's really inspiring because you get the feeling of what it'll be like actually competing when you go to a major competition."

    Baton facts 14:29:

    Athletes who have carried the baton so far include:

    • Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy
    • Kenyan middle and long distance runner Kip Keino
    • New Zealand rower and yachtsman Rob Waddell
    • Double Olympic 100m medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price
    • Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake
    Most flags 14:35:

    Baton relay 2014 tweets: And the award for most flags so far today goes to... Herne Bay High School! #Kent #BatonRelay @weRengland

    Flag waving
    Drawing the line 14:42: Hamish Reid BBC News

    Samuel Plimsoll is buried in Folkestone. He created the Plimsoll Line which appears on the hulls of seafaring ships to show safe loading limits.

    The gym shoes were named because of the resemblance of the rubber sole to the Plimsoll line, apparently.

    Interviews and skates 14:51:

    Kent Sport tweets: At Herne Bay High School we've had singing, interviews, roller hockey and now roller dancing #BatonRelay

    Roller skating
    Herne Bay records 14:57:

    The first jet airspeed record and the first airspeed record over 600mph (966km/h) were made between Herne Bay Pier and Reculver by Group Captain HJ Wilson in November 1945.

    His Gloster Meteor averaged 606mph (975km/h) over four runs.

    Next stop Folkestone 15:00: Hamish Reid BBC News

    After leaving Herne Bay, the Queen's Baton Relay made its way to Pent Valley School in Folkestone for its penultimate stop in Kent.

    It was due to arrive earlier this afternoon.

    Next generation 15:02:

    Speaking earlier BBC South East's Peter Whittlesea said: "It's all about inspiring the next generation to take part in sport. Here are more than 1,500 children at Herne Bay High."

    Favourite picture 15:12: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    One of my favourite pics from the morning is this of the baton.

    It was a real squeeze all morning to make sure everyone got to see/feel the baton. I stood at the back of one of the grounds and took this.

    Children touching the baton
    Getting ready 15:15:

    Matt Leclere tweets: Buzz at Pent Valley school as Shepway gets ready to welcome Queen's Baton and @TheYarnold in #Folkestone.

    Media scrum 15:18: Hamish Reid BBC News

    BatonRelay2014 tweets: We think it's fair to say there has been a lot of media attention regarding the baton today!

    That'll include us, then!

    Animal magic 15:24:

    Animals the baton met along the way include koalas in Australia, dolphins in Anguilla, horses in Turks and Caicos Islands, turtles in the Cayman Islands, giraffes in Kenya and donkeys in Anguilla.

    Handing over... 15:30: Hamish Reid BBC News

    Thanks for all your tweets and photos today.

    I'm handing over the reins to Tanya Gupta who will take you through the last few hours of the Queen's Baton Relay here in Kent.

    Have fun if you're going to Maidstone.

    On its way 15:35:

    Folkestone Herald reporter Joe Kasper tweets: I'm at Pent Valley Technology College in Folkestone awaiting the #Glasgow2014 Queen's #BatonRelay

    Pent Valley Technology College
    Off to China 15:41: Via Twitter

    Preparations for the Commonwealth Games are going on in other ways too. Table tennis star Paul Drinkhall, who won two medals for England at the 2012 Games, tweets: Commonwealth team photo heading out to china for training(minus tintin and nicky) #letshaveit

    Table tennis players at airport
    Taking over... 15:42: Tanya Gupta BBC News

    Hello and welcome to the last few hours of the Queen's Baton Relay here in Kent.

    We're waiting for the baton to arrive in Folkestone before the relay ends in the county town of Maidstone.

    Glasgow Games facts 15:47:

    Glasgow 2014 will host the first para-sport cycling track events in Commonwealth Games history.

    School's 'huge turnout' 15:53:

    Earlier Commonwealth Games England tweeted: Huge turnout to greet @TheYarnold at Herne Bay High School this afternoon. #BatonRelay #TeamEngland

    Herne Bay High School
    Future generations inspired 16:00:

    Baton Relay 2014 tweets: Future generations getting inspired by the baton. Perfectly sums up the importance of the #batonrelay #TeamEngland

    Children with the baton at Dartford
    'Great success' 16:10:

    The baton has made its way to Pent Valley Technology College in Folkestone.

    Pent Valley college

    The college tweets: The @Batonrelay2014 was a great success. Thank you to everyone involved. @TheYarnold #QueensBatonRelay

    'Quiet' wait for baton 16:15: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    I'm outside Maidstone County Hall where the baton is due to arrive at 16:30.

    County Hall

    Very quiet at the moment.

    'What a brill day' 16:20:

    Kent's GB skeleton athlete and Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold tweets: We're all on our way to #Maidstone for the final of 5 stops on today's Queens #batonrelay. What a brill day! #sunshine #stillnosunnies

    Baton facts 16:25:

    Some of the most unusual modes of transportation used for the baton include a 19th Century steam train in Sri Lanka, motorised tricycles in Australia, an outrigger canoe in Kiribati, and helicopters in Rwanda, Namibia and the Falkland Islands.

    Garden of England 16:31: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    In Maidstone a paper garden has been unveiled inside the County Hall.

    More than 10 schools worked together to create it - with Kent's Animate Arts Company.

    Paper garden

    The artwork is called Garden of England.

    Tweeters tweet 16:36: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    Here's a tweet from me with tweeters. Loving the paper birds. Children showing off their amazing work.

    Paper birds
    'Real day for kids' 16:41: Tanya Gupta BBC News

    BBC Radio Kent reporter Chris Lloyd in Maidstone, where the torch relay ends today, says it's been "a real day for the kids" - and only 48 days now until the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

    He says he would "love to know" the contents of the Queen's secret message, which is concealed in the baton.

    Glasgow Games facts 16:46:

    Athletes taking part in the Commonwealth Games marathon will cross the River Clyde four times.

    Maidstone crowds gather 16:52: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    Crowds gather outside County Hall in Maidstone to see the baton.

    Crowds outside County Hall

    Thousands have gathered to greet the baton in the county - and about 3,300 school children have celebrated the baton relay as it made its way around Kent.

    Sound of home 17:00:

    The Glasgow 2014 Queen's Baton has been reminded of home at numerous point on its journey throughout the Commonwealth, hearing the skirl of bagpipes from the Cayman Islands to Cyprus and Bangladesh to Singapore.

    Next stop Oxford 17:06: Stephanie Barnard BBC Local Live

    The sun has been shining here in Kent all day. Such a good turn out even at such an early hour, starting at Tonbridge Castle at 07:00.

    It's travelled a lot of miles today and even got a surprise turnout outside the County Hall, with the team not expecting crowds of people.

    John Simmonds brought the baton into Kent County Council's building where it'll remain for the next hour or so.

    I'm now heading to Oxford. As the song goes - everywhere you go you always take the weather with you. Here's hoping so anyway.

    Kent champion highlights 17:11: Tanya Gupta BBC News

    Looking back at some of today's highlights: Two of Kent's baton bearers had three Olympic golds between them - 2004 double gold medallist runner Kelly Holmes (right) and Lizzy Yarnold (left) who won gold in the skeleton at this year's Winter Olympics in Sochi.

    Lizzy Yarnold and Dame Kelly Holmes at Tonbridge Castle

    Both women come from Kent and carried the baton at Tonbridge Castle.

    Baton facts 17:15:

    The baton has visited some of the most remote regions in the world, including Kavieng, in Papua New Guinea, Tarawa Island, in Kiribati, and the island nation of Niue, which is only connected by one weekly flight.

    'A great atmosphere' 17:17: Tanya Gupta BBC News

    BBC Radio Kent reporter Chris Lloyd says highlights of Kent's baton relay included a fantastic reception in Maidstone.

    Baton at County Hall, Maidstone

    He said it's been a beautiful day with big crowds - full of excitement with a great atmosphere.

    Temperatures rise 17:20:

    BBC weather says: "A fine couple of days to end the week as the Queen's Baton Relay wends its way from Kent to Oxford, and then on to London on Friday afternoon. Temperatures on the climb too, reaching the mid 20s Celsius in the capital."

    Weather graphic
    'Next generation on way' 17:25: The Daily Mail

    Dame Kelly Holmes who carried the baton at Tonbridge Castle believes the next generation of Team England stars will be on show in Glasgow.

    Kelly Holmes at Tonbridge Castle

    She tells the Daily Mail stars such as Mo Farah and Tom Daley will inspire youngsters.

    Fascinating facts 17:27:

    The Queen's Baton Relay travelled by sea to the island of St Helena on the last remaining Royal Mail ship - a new airport will be be opened in 2016 to avoid the five-day voyage.

    The surface at Hampden Park football stadium has been raised by 6ft 2in (1.9m) to create an IAAA standard athletics arena.

    Judo returns to the Commonwealth Games after its last appearance in Manchester in 2002.

    Athletes are expected to eat about 500,000 pieces of fruit during their time in the athletes' village.

    Signing off... 17:30: Tanya Gupta BBC News

    That's me finished for the day. The baton is now off to Oxford and London.

    Highlights will include a visit to Magdalen College School and Botanic Gardens, and in the capital the baton will be carried from Tower Bridge to City Hall, to be met by Mayor Boris Johnson.


Queen's Baton Relay

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