Wales

Commonwealth Games: Large crowds welcome Queen's Baton Relay

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Media captionThe baton has been paraded around Carmarthenshire

The Queen's Baton Relay has seen its biggest crowds so far on its journey around Wales as thousands of people welcomed it to Carmarthenshire.

The baton started its fourth day in the country with a visit to Dylan Thomas's writing shed in Laugharne, helping to mark 100 years since the poet's birth.

Crowds then greeted it as it went to Ammanford, Llanelli and Carmarthen.

It now heads to Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, where it will be blessed at St Davids Cathedral.

A dry day helped draw people out to watch the relay on Tuesday, with baton bearers including Stella actor Julian Lewis Jones, Welsh tenor and BBC Radio Wales presenter Wynne Evans and Non Evans, the weightlifter and former Wales rugby international.

In Llanelli alone police said they thought about 2,200 people had turned out.

Image caption First Llanelli Scouts and Cubs were among those cheering on the baton bearers

Baton bearer Kevin Evans, a triple Commonwealth medal-winning boxer from Carmarthen, said: "It was brilliant, a really good experience - great turnout."

Entertainment and sporting activities were laid on as the relay wound its way around the county, culminating with celebrations in Carmarthen town centre on Tuesday evening.

Image caption Welsh tenor Wynne Evans carried the baton in Carmarthen

The relay is building up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow which start on 23 July.

The baton's fifth day in Wales will start with a blessing on Wednesday morning in the grounds of St Davids Cathedral in Pembrokeshire by the Bishop of St Davids, the Right Reverend Wyn Evans.

Baton bearers will continue the relay in Cardigan, Aberaeron and Aberystwyth, before it finishes the day in Machynlleth with sporting activities and entertainment.

Jack Bradick, 11, who will carry the Queen's baton along Aberystwyth promenade, said he had been inspired to take part after the Olympic Torch Relay travelled through the town in 2012.

"I am quite excited. I have seen some very famous people who have carried it, like Tom Daley," said Jack, who as a Welsh Sports Ambassador for Schools encourages and motivates other children to take up sport.

"It is unusual to be part of something so big."

BATON RELAY ROUTE IN WALES

•Day five: St Davids, Machynlleth

•Day six: Llanberis, Beaumaris, Menai Strait, Caernarfon

•Day seven: Rhyl, Moel Famau, Ruthin, Llandegla

The baton arrived at Cardiff Airport on Saturday morning and was greeted in the rain by crowds in Abertillery, Ebbw Vale, Tredegar and Merthyr Tydfil.

On Sunday it visited several places in Rhondda Cynon Taf, as the downpours continued before heading to Llandrindod Wells in Powys in the evening.

Sunshine finally greeted the baton on Monday as it headed north to visit the Urdd Eisteddfod, a touring Welsh language youth festival that attracts around 100,000 visitors each year.

At the end of its seven days in Wales, the baton will have travelled 731 miles (1,176km) in Wales visiting sights including the summit of Snowdon.

The baton tradition started before the 1958 Cardiff Games and has taken place in some form before every Games since.

Image caption Large crowds turned out in Llanelli to watch the baton relay

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