Jersey

Commonwealth Games baton returns to British Isles

  • 11 May 2014
  • From the section Jersey

The Commonwealth Games baton has returned to the British Isles, arriving in Jersey after a world-wide tour taking in 63 nations and territories.

The Queen's Baton contains a message from the monarch, which will be revealed at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Games in Glasgow on 23 July.

It was carried ashore at St Aubin's Bay, Jersey, by Olympic and Commonwealth diver Tom Daley.

The baton will travel next to Guernsey before heading to the Isle of Man.

Olympic bronze medallist Daley, from Plymouth, was joined by Jersey's 23-year-old British indoor shot-putt champion Zane Duquemin in bringing the baton ashore.

After travelling by boat from St Helier the pair carried the Queen's Baton up the beach on Sunday evening, where hundreds of young athletes welcomed them in a public ceremony.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Zane Duquemin (l) and Tom Daley travelled from St Helier to St Aubin by boat
Image copyright PA
Image caption A large crowd gathered at St Aubin to see the baton brought ashore
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Duquemin and Daley were joined by young Jersey swimmers, Robbie Jones and Fancesca Stubbings

"Carrying the baton was a massive responsibility and a massive honour to carry it on to the British Isles," said Daley.

"Ten years ago when I signed up to dive, if someone had said I would be doing this I would have said 'yeah right'.

"Diving is number one, that is what I love doing and my aim is to train hard and retain my Commonwealth Games title."

Two young Jersey swimmers, Fran Stubbings and Robbie Jones, both aged 12, carried the baton around St Aubin.

'Good for the island'

Fran said: "[We] were the youngest going to nationals this season so far, so we got picked to do it.

"We will be meeting him at the end of St Aubin's Bay, he will come up on the boat and we will walk with it, passing it to each other as we walk around."

Lord Smith of Kelvin, chairman of the Commonwealth Games organising committee, said the welcome given to the baton was incredible.

"The Queen's Baton Relay has returned to the British Isles and what a welcome it has received," he said.

The baton arrived in the island on a flight from Gibraltar, to be waved on to its parking stand by former Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Simon Militis.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Daley, a keen social media user, snapped a "selfie" with the crowd in St Aubin

Within the top of the baton are granite gemstones, with one given to each place it has visited as a memento of the relay.

Alan Cross, from the Jersey Commonwealth Games Association, said the island would treasure it.

By the end of the relay, which has been the curtain raiser for the Commonwealth Games since 1958, the baton will have travelled more than 118,000 miles (190,000km) in a journey that will have taken 288 days.

Mr Cross said: "It is good for the island, it puts us on the map and we are always keen to do that.

"It is also good for the sporting community on the island and our games association.

"It provides an excellent motivation to move towards the games, especially for the youngsters with Tom Daley coming over. He is an inspirational character."

Alan Donald, from Ports of Jersey, was involved in the organisation of the baton's arrival, which he described as "very exciting, but logistically complex".

"It's a great community event and importantly showcases the skills and talents of our local sportsmen and women," he said.

The baton will be taken around the island for two days.

On Tuesday the baton will travel by boat to Guernsey and will be taken on a tour of schools the following day.

It will be taken to the other main Channel Islands of Alderney, Sark and Herm on Thursday.

It then travels to the Isle of Man and onto Northern Ireland, Wales and England before ending its journey with a 40-day tour of Scotland.

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