Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Edinburgh 'heroes' take part in the Queen's Baton Relay

Edinburgh castle Image copyright Glasgow 2014
Image caption The first leg of the baton's journey through Scotland will see it travel from Coldstream to Edinburgh

After a journey of 180,000 km passing through more than 70 nations and territories the Queen's Baton has arrived in Scotland.

Between 14 June and 23 July, the baton will visit all 32 of Scotland's local authorities ahead of opening ceremony of Glasgow's Commonwealth Games on 23 July.

Up to 4,000 baton-bearers will take part in the the relay. Each of the runners have been chosen due to their work in the local community.

Chris Sellar

Chris Sellar is a community sports hub co-ordinator at Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University. The 24-year-old believes that the positive effects of the Commonwealth Games are already being felt.

He said: "The Commonwealth Games and QBR has been fantastic at my work and has been inspiring children and young people to get involved in sport."

He also believes that the exposure the Commonwealth Games will give to some lesser-known sports means that many local sports clubs can expect new members.

"It's been a fantastic catalyst for changing the way clubs engage with the public, and has encouraged people to think in ways which they have never done before."

Outside of his work, he is a keen sports fan and plans to attend the cycling finals as well as the table tennis competition.

Mr Sellar hopes to use a Go-Pro camera to capture his run so he can then use the footage to help teach children about the benefits of sport.

Lianne Perry

Lianne Perry, better known as "Crazy Legs", is a founding member and coach of the popular female roller derby team "Auld Reekie Roller Girls".

Since starting the team just five years ago it has gone on to become one of the finest roller derby teams in Europe with its achievements attracting a growing number of fans. Lianne's role as team captain and coach has helped inspire thousands of people to take up skating and get involved with the sport.

Even though she has achieved an incredible amount in the past five years, the chance to play a part in the Queens' Baton Relay is something she is proud to become involved in.

She said: "It's a complete once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to be a small part of such a huge chain of inspiring people.

"I'll be representing a whole lot of hard work from a phenomenal community of dedicated people who have helped the Auld Reekie Roller Girls and Roller Derby come such a long way since we started.

"If I can spark more interest in this and the whole diverse range of sports available to women these days, that would be amazing."

After playing her part in the Queen's Baton Relay, Lianne's next stop is to play for Team Scotland at the roller derby World Cup in Dallas in December.

Image copyright Tyler Shaw
Image caption Lianne, better known as 'Crazy Legs', in action for the 'Auld Reekie Roller Girls'

Frances Smith

Keen swimmer Frances has been an active member of Warrender Baths Club for more than 50 years. firstly as a swimmer, then as a coach and now as the voluntary swimming convener.

The popular club operates on a non-for-profit basis and is managed through a combination of coaches and volunteers.

She spends up to 30 hours a week encouraging swimmers into the sport, running development squads, coaching and organising competitions for young swimmers.

Through her efforts the club now has more than 300 swimmers, eight of which will qualify for the Commonwealth Games 2014.

She is regarded as a mentor and role model for swimmers past and present right across the city and has been involved in the swimming careers of children from their introduction to the club right through to International and World level competing.

Laura Thomson

Laura Thomson will take part in the Leith section of the Edinburgh leg of the Queen's Baton Relay.

The 20-year-old is already an ambassador for the Young Scots Legacy project and is heavily involved with coaching football teams to help people with social problems and drug addictions.

She has previously volunteered during the 2012 London Olympics but the chance to take part in Glasgow 2014's Queen Baton Relay is something which she believes is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

She said: "Just getting the chance to take part in something like this is unique and special. The baton has travelled all across the world to Scotland.

"The chance to play my part in the Commonwealth Games is a great one."

Maya Kamat

Maya Kamat believes the Commonwealth Games is the perfect opportunity for some of the lesser-known sports in Scotland to get highlighted.

As well as being an avid fan of athletics and cycling, the 17-year-old has spent the past six years learning how to fence after getting the chance to try it for the first-time at an after-school club.

Since then, she has become a passionate advocate for promoting the sport and raising the public's awareness of it through the local and national press.

"I'm looking forward to promoting the sport in the community. It can sometimes be hard for people to find out about different kinds of sports which they can try.

"It's nice to be able to help people get involved in something different."

Christina Thomson

Christina Thomson has become a very popular face with pupils at Edinburgh's Broughton High School where she has volunteered for the past seven years.

At the age of 72 she has no plans to slow down after recovering from a near-fatal heart attack in 2009, saying she enjoys every day she spends with the pupils.

Her enthusiasm for her work has spread into her involvement in the Queen's Baton Relay as she admits "the nearer it (the relay) gets, the more excited I become."

The Commonwealth Games are proving to be something of a family affair for her with both her daughter and daughter-in-law signed up to work as Clydesiders in Glasgow.

Once her part in the Queens's Baton Relay is over, the retired nurse will take up a spectator's role at the Games with tickets to see Mo Farah running in the 1500 metres at Hampden.

Bob Aitken

Bob Aitken has devoted large chunks of his life, as a volunteer, to promoting target shooting in the Edinburgh area. He has been honorary secretary of the East of Scotland Rifle club for more than 30 years and is a passionate advocate for the sport of target shooting.

As well as this he is something of a Commonwealth veteran, having worked as team manager for target rifle at a previous Commonwealth Games, the venues director at the 1986 Commonwealth Games and a previous chair of the Scottish Target Shooting Federation.

Now in his 70s, he remains as passionate as ever about his sport and the benefits of the Commonwealth Games.

"I feel very proud that they are asking me to take part. Sport is character-building, it teaches you discipline and how to cope with hard work."

Zainab Hayat

Zainab has been an excellent role model for people of her age. At just 16, she volunteers, looks after children and participates in a range of sports including competitive dance, archery and fencing.

For the past two years she has been volunteering with the Women's Royal Voluntary Service at Astley Ainslie Hospital for elderly and volunteers at the Western General Hospital in the elderly ward to help feed the infirm.

She is also becoming a volunteer ambassador for Volunteer Scotland to encourage others. She has gained her 200-hour Saltire Award through helping out at the WRVS.

When asked how she felt about participating in the Queen's Baton Relay, she said: "I was amazed to have been given the opportunity to run with the baton and am grateful to have been nominated by my volunteer managers.

"It's such a historic event in Scotland and I can't wait to be part of something internationally renowned. I'm looking forward to it."

William Gentleman

William is a retired teacher who coaches young athletes in Edinburgh and West Lothian. He also coached the Scottish junior internationalist discus thrower and is a volunteer athletics official, including at schools cross-country and field events as well as at senior competitions.

During his coaching career he has helped champion Scottish athletes such as Yvonne Murray realise their potential.

He continues to actively represent Scotland and the UK at Masters athletic events worldwide and recently recovered from a stroke to win two gold medals at a Masters event.

William was part of a Scottish stroke awareness campaign and also raised money for a local opera group by lifting a tonne at Meadowbank.

After a lifetime of success the advice he offers to young hopefuls is: "Be determined to work hard and don't give up when things go wrong."

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