Jubilation as Queen's Baton Relay passes through Stratford
There was a jubilant atmosphere in Stratford today (Friday) as a large crowd cheered on the batonbearers as they took part in the Queen’s Baton Relay.
After stopping off in Gaydon for a visit the British Motor Museum at 9.57am, the convey arrived in Stratford where the relay started at 10.51 am by the outside gym on the Recreation Ground.
The batonbearers included Vicki Quarton, Elizabeth Dixon, Dr Roy Lodge, Richard Pepperell, Jackie Robinson, Kezia Bull, Les Barnett and Paul Hawkins.
After circling the Rec, the procession went over the Avon via the chain ferry, then up Waterside on the way to Henley Street where it finished by the Shakespeare statue.
Stratford mayor Cllr Gill Cleeve told the Herald the event was an honour for the town and a great opportunity to showcase Stratford.
"The baton relay has been to so many countries around the world - from the Caribbean to Canada - and now it's in Stratford," she said. "It's great for this area to have the relay and will help attract people to Stratford and the Midlands."
Les Barnett, who completed the seventh leg, came through town with a beaming smile before handing over the baton to Paul Hawkins.
Speaking after his section, Les said it was "an amazing experience" and "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".
“It's one of those things you think is never going to happen to you, and when it does, you just have to be grateful for the moment and just smile a lot and just say thank you to everybody who helped you get to this moment,” Les said.
He added: "I couldn't believe so many people turned out; Stratford supported the Commonwealth Games before we did this baton relay so a big thank you to Stratford and everybody involved.”
At Gaydon more than 500 spectators lined the British Motor Museum’s main driveway to watch the baton arrive.
It was accompanied by the Queen's 1953 Royal Ceremonial Land Rover from the museum’s collection. This vehicle was part of fleet used by the Queen and Prince Philip on a six-month Commonwealth tour soon after the coronation. There was also a special Gaydon Gathering of 200 British classics which spectators could view whilst the Baton entourage went into the Museum for a private demonstration of STEM activities by the museum’s learning team and the STEM ambassadors from MOD Kineton.
The Commonwealth Games begin on Thursday, 28th July.