Loughborough residents welcome Paralympians to Queen’s Baton Relay

QUEEN’S BATON RELAY: The Queen’s Baton Relay enters Loughborough (Image: Charnwood Borough Council)

Submitted by Charnwood Borough Council

Loughborough residents enjoyed an afternoon of fun activities this month as the Queen’s Baton Relay toured the borough.

On Monday, July 11, Charnwood Borough Council staged live performances as three baton carriers entered the town.

Para swimmer world record holder James Hollis and Paralympic discus thrower Dan Greaves completed the relay from its starting point at Queen’s Park to Market Place.

Cllr Jenny Bokor, Senior Member of Loughborough, said: “It has been an absolute privilege to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to Loughborough to celebrate the upcoming Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022.

“Thank you to our inspirational batting and everyone who came out to show their support for batting and the games.

“Loughborough has a rich sporting history, and the Relay’s visit to the town provided a fantastic opportunity to inspire residents.”

James Hollis started the relay at Queen’s Park and carried the relay to the Carillon Tower, welcomed by the Mayor of Charnwood, Cllr Jennifer Tillotson.

James was nominated for his contribution to swimming and the parasport community.

He competed in London in 2012 and recently came out of retirement to pursue his goal of competing in the Commonwealth Games.

The baton went to Emma Wiggs MBE, two-time Paralympic gold medalist and nine-time Paracanoe World Champion, who crossed the park to Granby Street.

Paralympic discus thrower Dan Greaves was the final stick bearer and carried it through Market Place to the stage for a celebratory event.

Dan made history at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo by becoming the first British track and field athlete to medal at six Paralympic Games.

Dan said: “I was delighted to learn that I had been appointed as a stick bearer.

“It was a huge privilege to carry the torch through Loughborough and it was an incredible experience.

“I’ve been training hard preparing for a home game and can’t wait for Birmingham 2022 to start.”

James Hollis said: “It was a fantastic experience and an honor to launch the Loughborough Relay through the town centre.

“Thank you to everyone who came out to show their support.

“Birmingham 2022 is going to be a really special occasion, and I’m looking forward to competing in a few weeks.”

Hundreds of locals lined the road at Queen’s Park and Market Place to follow its journey through the city.

The children enjoyed free sports activities in Queen’s Park and a jazz band performed for the crowds around the bandstand.

There were market stalls and kiddie rides in the town centre, and a large stage and screen ‘come alive’ with music and entertainment in the market square.

Cllr Jennifer Tillotson, Mayor of Charnwood, said: “It was an honor as Mayor of Charnwood to greet the witness on his 29-day journey through England.

“Thank you to all the residents of Charnwood who came out to show their support for the Commonwealth Games – It was a fantastic afternoon and a momentous occasion.

“Good luck to all Charnwood-related athletes representing their respective countries at the Commonwealth Games!”

The witness also visited the campus of Loughborough University, where a series of festive events took place, including a ‘Sports Festival’.

Professor Nick Jennings, the university’s vice-chancellor, said: “Today has been a true celebration of sport and the Commonwealth, and I am delighted that Loughborough University has been a part of it.

“We have over 100 Loughborough-linked athletes, coaches, practitioners and support staff – representing ten different nations – competing at the Commonwealth Games.

“The Baton Relay was a great way to show our support and pride for what they’ve accomplished.”

Jo Maher, Principal and CEO of Loughborough College, said: “It was fantastic to join our partners in this incredible celebration of sport, culture and diversity on such a magnificent day.

“It is so fitting and such an honor that Loughborough has been chosen to host a stage of the baton relay so that our communities, who have such a unique connection to British sport, can celebrate and support all the athletes taking part in the games.

“Congratulations to everyone who made the day such a great advertisement for sport in Loughborough.”

After visiting Loughborough, the stick headed to Derby for the next part of its journey through England.

The Queen’s Baton Relay will travel across England for 29 days before culminating in the Birmingham 2022 Opening Ceremony on July 28, 2022.

For more information, visit the website here.

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