Queen's Baton Relay: Manchester and Congleton as it happened

Key Points

  • The Queen's Baton Relay is the main curtain raiser for the Commonwealth Games, which are being held in Glasgow between 23 July and 3 August
  • Starting in Manchester the relay journeys around England for a fortnight and crosses the border into Scotland on 14 June
  • The baton is the Commonwealth Games version of the Olympic torch and carries a sealed, secret message written by the Queen

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    Queen's Baton Relay arrives 08:00: Nafeesa Shan BBC News

    Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the Greater Manchester and Cheshire leg of the Queen's Baton Relay as it comes into England.


    Stick with us throughout to day for updates on the baton's journey as it makes its way across the area as part of the final build-up to the start of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

    The baton relay begins at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester before heading to Congleton Park in Cheshire and finally ending in Old Trafford.

    Share your pictures and experiences of the baton relay via email, Twitter and Facebook using #bbcbatonrelay and we'll include as many as we can here.

    Drizzly start to baton relay 08:15: Paul Burnell BBC News

    I'm out with the baton relay today and it has to be said - the heady days of 2002 on the Commonwealth Games opening in Manchester seem a long way away in the mist and drizzle that is greeting the relay this morning.

    Baton relay weather forecast

    BBC Weather's Jay Wynne has the baton relay forecast in full.

    First baton-bearer 08:25: Paul Burnell BBC News

    Here's Valerie Zebrokova, the first baton-bearer of the day.

    Valerie Zebrokova

    The 17-year-old is a regular face at the National Cycling Centre and has been elected for the British Cycling BMX Talent Team.

    She said: "It's amazing being the first baton-bearer."

    Team England cyclists 08:35:

    Team England cyclists Matt Crampton and Jess Varnish at here at the National Cycling Centre ready for baton's arrival.

    Matt Crampton and Jess Varnish
    Baton is heavy 08:38: Paul Burnell BBC News

    The Manchester leg of the Queen's Baton Relay is underway.

    The first baton-bearer Valerie Zebrokova says it's heavy and she has no idea what the secret message says inside.

    08:49: Via Twitter

    @Batonrelay2014 tweets: Valerie Zebrokova carries the baton to the National Cycling Centre as #Manchester greets the #BatonRelay pic.twitter.com/w8iTuCGS4V

    Baton-bearer 'honoured' 09:00:

    Cricket coach Ralph Aldred, who was left with sudden and permanent eyesight loss aged 58, was handed the baton.

    Mr Aldred said: "It is a real honour. I was in Australia when I was told I would be a baton-bearer by email and I thought it was a wind up."

    Ralph Aldred

    After coming to terms with this sight loss, Mr Aldred now plays for the Lancashire Lions visually impaired cricket team and has started coaching juniors again.

    Baton's arrival 09:07: Simon Dedman BBC News

    Tweets: The #batonrelay arrives in England brandished by BMX rider Valerie Zebrokova

    Valerie Zebrokova
    Whoops and cheers 09:12: Paul Burnell BBC News

    Ralph Aldred arrived in the velodrome to whoop and cheers from a guard of honour by assorted netball teams.

    Baton Relay guide 09:27: Nafeesa Shan BBC News

    I'm guessing some of you might be wondering what the Queen's Baton Relay is all about.

    e Queen's Baton is held in front of lake Llyn Padarn at Llanberis in Wales

    It's the official curtain raiser before the Commonwealth Games and travels across the Commonwealth nations carried by thousands of people in a relay before it takes a central role in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on 23 July.

    Click here to find out more.

    Your baton relay 09:35: Nafeesa Shan BBC News

    We'd love to share your thoughts and experiences of the Queen's Baton Relay through Manchester and Congleton.

    Send us a tweet using the hash-tag #bbcbatonrelay and we'll feature some of your relay adventures here.

    Paul tells me the sun is now shining so let's see some of your pictures of baton fun in the sun.

    Baton-bearer 'excited' 09:45:

    Alan Boyle, 64, fixtures secretary of the Manchester Waconians Lacrosse Club, also had the privilege of holding the baton.

    Alan Boyle

    He said: "I was very excited, I just couldn't believe it."

    Mr Boyle manages two lacrosse teams and does everything in his power to develop the club and all the players.

    Baton's welcome 09:54: Simon Dedman BBC News

    Tweets: 50 riders brought the #BatonRelay by peloton to Manchester's National Cycling Centre

    National Cycling Centre
    What's a peloton? 09:57: Nafeesa Shan BBC News

    Simon clearly knows his sporting terms, but in case you were wondering - a peloton is the main field or group of cyclists in a race.

    Baton to One Direction 10:08: Paul Burnell BBC News

    It's a morning where sport and music mix. I can see that one half of the complex are training to be champions of the future...

    One Direction

    .. but on the other side of Sportcity people are queuing for tonight's One Direction gig at Manchester City's Etihad stadium.

    The boys clearly like their sport though, The Independent reports band member Louis Tomlinson is set to buy Doncaster Rovers FC.

    Two-wheel entertainment 10:18: Paul Burnell BBC News

    Visitors to the National Cycling Centre were entertained earlier with demonstrations of stunt riding as part of the Queen's Baton Relay coming to Manchester.

    BMX biker
    Sun's shining as relay continues 10:27: Paul Burnell BBC News

    Life at the velodrome is returning to normal - a hive of sporting activity on a normal Saturday morning. Hurrah the sun's shining and we're off with the baton to the National Squash Centre.

    What is the Velodrome? 10:36:

    Manchester Velodrome arena is part of the Nationals Cycling Centre and was built on the site of a former coalmine and opened in 1994.

    Cyclists at Manchester Velodrome

    It has become the home of British Cycling and is the base for Britain's Olympic cycling greats.

    The centre is opposite the former Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games stadium, which is now Manchester City's home ground.

    Baton double 10:45:

    @Batonrelay2014 tweets: The Manchester baton from 2002 meets the Glasgow 2014 baton! #batonrelay @weRengland

    Batons from 2002 and 2014
    Manchester 2002 legacy 10:59: Paul Burnell BBC News

    Blazing sun over Sportcity looking at the true legacy of 2002. The baton was taken to the wall of fame, near the indoor athletics arena marking the medal winners of 2002.

    Lee Whiteley

    Lee Whiteley, who has broken the world record in the T35 200m, accompanied the 2002 baton while holding a 2014 one. He handed it Lauren Toms who walked a few metres before passing to John Gilmore. He then carried the baton through to the inside of the indoor arena.

    Whiteley told the BBC holding the baton was a "big surprise".

    Baton off to Cheshire 11:08: Paul Burnell BBC News

    The Sportcity leg of the baton relay is done. Having visited the National Squash Centre it's now heading towards Congleton in Cheshire.

    The baton bearers at the National Squash Centre

    An estimated 10,000 people will gather at Congleton Park to take part in a variety of sports and community events as they welcome the baton on its journey towards Scotland.

    Preparing for Congleton leg 11:22:

    Joanne Glover tweets: I'm part of the #redcross first aid team at #congleton :-) #bbcbatonrelay

    Joanne Glover
    Get in touch 11:26: Nafeesa Shan BBC News

    How are you getting involved with the Queen's Baton Relay today? Just like Joanne did, tell us what you're up to and share your baton relay pictures with us using the hash-tag #bbcbatonrelay

    'Brilliant' experience 11:39:

    While the baton is on its way to Congleton we'll have a look back at some of the relay highlights from this morning.

    Baton-bearer John Gilmore, 45, walked through raised squash rackets at the National Squash Centre before handing the baton to Laura Massaro, the World Squash Champion.

    Laura Massaro(l) and John Gilmore (r)

    John said the experience was "brilliant". Laura tweeted it was "brilliant to be involved".

    Video: Guard of honour 11:50:

    @Batonrelay2014 tweets: Guard of honour for the Baton at the National Squash Centre #BatonRelay @englandsr https://vine.co/v/Md3L1xKQq0L

    John Gilmore
    A trip down memory lane 12:06:

    If you love a bit of nostalgia, enjoy these highlights from the Queen's Jubilee Baton Relay for the Commonwealth Games held in Manchester 2002.

    2002 Commonwealth Games
    Congleton crowds arrive 12:15: Suzanne Hailey Reporter, North West Tonight

    Crowds are gathering in Congleton Park for the next leg of the Queen's Baton Relay.

    Congleton crowds arriving

    Organisers say about 10,000 people are expected at the event which includes lots of "have a go" sports activities.

    A morning with the baton 12:21: Paul Burnell BBC News

    It was just a normal day of sporting activity at Sportcity Manchester this morning - a sprawling complex in the regenerated Eastlands area of Manchester.

    Queen's Baton

    Described as a lesson in how to deliver the Commonwealth Games legacy the range of packed sport venues proved an eloquent testimony to thus as the Queen's Baton Relay arrived into England about 08:00 BST.

    New passions for sport 12:26: Paul Burnell BBC News

    Sports stars, wannabe Olympians and volunteers stalwarts of local sport all got their chance to hold the baton this morning as it made its first venture into England.

    A group taking part in zumba

    I feel the true legacy however is not the growth in sleek, toned athletes - but the passion from those of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities to get involved in a range of sports from squash and netball to cycling and zumba. Long may it continue.

    Baton Relay coverage 12:32: Nafeesa Shan BBC News

    Stay in touch with the Queen's Baton Relay as it travels across England towards Scotland with the latest from BBC News and test your knowledge of the Commonwealth Games with our quiz.

    We'd love to share your experiences of the relay. Get in touch via email, Facebook or Twitter and use the hash-tag #bbcbatonrelay

    Dignitaries wait for baton 12:36: Suzanne Hailey Reporter, North West Tonight

    Lord Lieutenant David Briggs (left) and Cheshire East Mayor Wesley Fitzgerald are all smiles waiting for the arrival of baton to Congleton Park.

    Lord Lieutenant David Briggs and Cheshire East Mayor, Wesley Fitzgerald
    Zumba for the baton 12:45:

    Rachel Waterman tweets: @Sport_England #zumba session in #Congleton for #BatonRelay Great weather means a great turnout!

    Zumba session in Congleton
    Commonwealth camaraderie 12:53:

    Andrew Priestley tweets: The Queen's Baton Relay is a great way to allow the millions across the Commonwealth feel a part of the Glasgow 2014 Games. #bbcbatonrelay

    Congleton cheer 12:54: Suzanne Hailey Reporter, North West Tonight

    The baton has arrived in Congleton and is about to start a tour of the park.

    The baton arrives in Congleton
    Baton excitement builds 13:02: Suzanne Hailey Reporter, North West Tonight

    The excitement's mounting as the baton's almost ready to go on a tour of Congleton Park.

    Lord Lieutenant David Briggs and Cheshire East Mayor, Wesley Fitzgerald with the baton bearers

    Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallist Ann Brightwell, who was known as Ann Packer (far right), has hold of the baton ready for the relay.

    Congleton welcomes baton 13:07:

    Commonwealth Games England tweets: Hello Congleton! We've got 10,000 people coming down for a festival of sport to celebrate the #BatonRelay

    The baton arrives
    Baton at Congleton Park 13:25:

    Andy Stevenson tweets: The baton comes to Congleton #bbcbatonrelay

    Bearers including Ann Brightwell, nee Packer, (r) holding the baton
    Congleton 'success' 13:32:

    Rachel Waterman tweets: #volunteers have made the #Congleton #BatonRelay happen today. An ENORMOUS #thankyou It's a huge success because of you!

    Thousands cheer baton-bearers 13:40:

    Thousands of people are cheering the baton as it makes its way around Congleton Park carried by Jane Whetnall (centre) and Ann Brightwell.

    Baton-bearers Jane Whetnall (left) and Ann Brightwell

    Dame Kelly Holmes, president of Commonwealth Games England, said: "Our England baton-bearers... have all been selected due to their passion for sport and the way in which they share this with their communities and look to get people involved and active.

    Meet Jane and Ann 13:53:

    Congleton Park baton-bearer Ann Brightwell (née Packer) was the first British woman to get a track gold medal with her 800m win at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.

    A Commonwealth silver medallist (1962) Ann is president and an active member of Team Congleton, which celebrates sport and encourages healthy living.

    Jane Whetnall is co-founder of the Cheshire Academy of Integrated Sports and Arts in Crewe providing sporting opportunities children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

    She has volunteered for more than 20 years and was honoured with an MBE in the 2014 New Years Honours list for services to disability sport.

    Baton 'fairy dust'? 14:06:

    Baton Relay 2014 tweets: "Is it powered by the Queen's fairy dust?" One child guesses what illuminates the Queen's message inside the baton.

    baton bearer speaking to children
    'Great' turn out 14:20:

    Commonwealth Games England tweets: Great to see so many out to greet the #BatonRelay in #Congleton

    Crowds in Congleton
    Baton heroines 14:35: Suzanne Hailey Reporter, North West Tonight

    Jane Whetnall and Ann Brightwell (née Packer) have become quite the baton celebrities as they carried it through Congleton Park.

    Jane Whetnall  and Ann Brightwell

    People in the crowds have described the atmosphere as "electric" as it was filled with the sounds of cheering, singing and applause as the baton made its way round the park for a second lap.

    'The Queen smiled at me' 14:45:

    Kirsty Howard, Simon Weston and others remember the Jubilee Relay, held before the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.

    Kirsty Howard and footballer David Beckham handing the baton to the Queen

    The image of Kirsty Howard and footballer David Beckham handing the baton to the Queen at Manchester's opening ceremony is one of the most memorable moments in Commonwealth Games history.

    Read more on the Queen's Baton Relay 2002 memories.

    Manchester 'natural choice' 14:57:

    Adam Paker, chief executive Commonwealth Games England, said: "Manchester was the natural choice to start the baton relay with the success of the 2002 games."

    Adam Paker, chief executive of Commonwealth Game England

    "Looking at the Sportcity complex is an object lesson in how to deliver the right legacy," he added.

    Follow Glasgow 2014 on the BBC.

    Manchester myth busting 15:07:

    Did you know Manchester is one of the drier UK cities?

    Visit England has told us that despite its 'Rainy City' nickname, Manchester's average annual rainfall is 806.6 millimetres compared to the UK average of 1,125 millimetres.

    Scientists at the University of Manchester think the "rain-chester" tag originated from a misleading climate map from 1926, which showed heavily concentrated rainfall over the area.

    Fortunately the relay has enjoyed good weather today.

    Baton 'great experience' 15:16:

    Southampton FC fan Scarlett Smith tweets: Great to be involved in the @Batonrelay2014 with @ljmassaro today! @weRengland #Glasgow2014 pic.twitter.com/gjG2LmtKmA

    Biggest turn out yet 15:24: Simon Dedman BBC News

    The Queen's Baton Relay has had its biggest turn out yet on the British Isles.

    Turn out in Congleton Park

    There were several thousand people in Congleton on its first day in England.

    Baton Relay route 15:38: Nafeesa Shan BBC News

    The baton relay team has two more stops in Manchester before they can rest up for the night and prepare for day two of the England leg which takes place in Sheffield.

    The baton will be taken by car from Congleton to Old Trafford to arrive about 16:00 BST and will finish the day at Manchester Central Library when the city council will host a civic reception.

    Did you know... 15:47:

    ... the baton used for the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester had a pulsating rate which mimicked the baton-bearer's heart rate as they held it?

    Queen Elizabeth II holds the hi-tech baton, designed to relay the Queens opening message to the Golden Jubilee Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002

    The Glasgow 2014 baton doesn't have a "pulse", but carries a granite "gemstone" to be given to each nation and territory. Housed at the very top of the baton, it is released by opening a puzzle mechanism.

    Bryan Robson at Old Trafford 15:54: Paul Burnell BBC News

    It's not quite the same as a Champions League night game at Old Trafford but there is a steady anticipation for the arrival of the baton.

    Bryan Robson

    A few fans from the far east are outside the superstore, but no doubt they'll be plenty who will turn out to Manchester United's stadium to see club legend Bryan Robson with the baton in a few minutes time.

    Robson prepares for baton 16:03: Paul Burnell BBC News

    Manchester United football legend Bryan Robson is already here at Old Trafford.

    Bryan Robson

    I can see him having a good look at the ground before the baton arrives.

    Old Trafford welcomes baton 16:10: Paul Burnell BBC News

    The baton has arrived in Old Trafford to the sound of applause.

    Bryan Robson

    Bryan Robson ran with it as local children formed a guard of honour upon the baton's arrival.

    Baton breather 16:17: Paul Burnell BBC News

    Having been following the baton all day I managed to grab a seat in a subs' chair for a moment or two to grab a breather before the baton arrived.

    Paul Burnell

    But it wasn't long until the crowds piped up when they heard the baton was almost here.

    Theatre of Dreams 16:20:

    Baton Relay 2014 tweets: The baton is at Old Trafford! Bryan Robson greets the batonbearers in the Theatre of Dreams @ManUtd #batonrelay #MUFC pic.twitter.com/eCVM9L2LnR

    Bryan Robson greets the baton-bearers
    Starry-eyed children 16:32: Paul Burnell BBC News

    Bryan Robson, who played for Manchester United from 1981 to 1994, jogged to tunnel after being a given a guard of honour by schoolchildren from Old Trafford and Manchester.

    Bryan Robson with children who attended the event

    The former United captain appeared to be enjoying the day and the children were starry-eyed - it looked like all their Christmases had come at once.

    Baton relay 'proud moment' 16:40:

    Man Utd Foundation tweets: Very proud to have held the #batonrelay with @UNICEF_uk Utd legend Bryan Robson helped carry the baton across OT! pic.twitter.com/jsLWob17qg

    Robson relay bonus 16:48: Paul Burnell BBC News

    Mike Waller was stunned when he found out Bryan Robson was at Old Trafford.

    Mike Waller and son Seb

    He travelled down from Middlesbrough for a tour of the stadium with his son Seb for the day.

    Mr Waller said: "I never thought I would have seen Bryan Robson. It has been a real bonus."

    Robson would run 1,500m 16:56: Paul Burnell BBC News

    After Bryan Robson's relay baton jog he told schoolchildren if he took part in the Commonwealth Games he would compete in the 1,500m race.

    Bryan Robson with schoolchildren who attended the Queen's Baton relay

    The Manchester United legend revealed he "was a runner" when he was at school.

    After leaving Old Trafford the baton continued its journey with a trip to Manchester Central Library.

    Did you know... 17:05:

    When the Queen's Baton Relay reaches Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games it will have travelled around the world in 288 days, covering a staggering 118,000 miles (190,000km).

    The Queen launches the baton relay

    The relay was kicked off by the Queen in October last year at Buckingham Palace.

    Baton's civic reception 17:15:

    The final stop for the relay during it first day touring England is at Manchester's Central Library.

    Manchester Central Library

    The city council is hosting a civic reception in the newly refurbished building before the baton is laid to rest for the night ahead of its trip to Sheffield on Sunday.

    Baton stalwart 17:22:

    Baton Relay 2014 tweets: Emily Bowyer, aged 102 has seen every baton relay since 1958. Today she not only saw, but held the Glasgow 2014 baton

    (l-r) Ann Brightwell, Emily Bowyer and Jane Whetnall
    Goodnight from the live team 17:30:

    That's all for our relay coverage today, so as the baton-bearers take their trainers off - we're hanging up our keyboards for the night.

    We'll be back from 08:30 BST on Sunday with all the latest baton action from Sheffield as the relay starts its second day during the England leg of the tour.

    Thanks for all your contributions so far, we look forward to sharing more of your baton stories in the days to come. Tweet us using #bbcbatonrelay, email or post a message on Facebook if you'd like to be featured.


Queen's Baton Relay

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