WHOOPS, cheers and a cacophony of applause welcomed the arrival of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games baton relay to Stratford district on Friday (July 22).
Crowds lined the streets of Stratford to witness the arrival of the baton, which has already been on a mammoth journey around the Commonwealth.
Eager residents turned up at the recreation ground in anticipation of the baton’s arrival at 10.50am. A wall of noise rose up at the first sight of it at the outdoor gym, where it was taken up by one of the specially selected community champions.
Amongst their number was Elizabeth Dixon the town’s disability campaigner, Lt Col Delroy Tucker of the Warwickshire and West Midlands Army Cadets, Chairman of Stratford Athletics Club Paul Hawkins, Leamington Cycling and Athletics Club coach Les Barnett, charity shop volunteer and fundraiser Kezia Bull, Jacqueline Robinson retired President and Chairman of England Squash, former Stratford mayor Roy Lodge and Richard Pepperell Director of Rugby at Stratford Rugby Club.
The baton travelled, relay fashion, along a route lined thick with spectators, around the recreation ground and then onto the chain ferry, where it crossed the River Avon.
It then followed the footpath on the bank of the river in front of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, travelled along Bancroft Gardens, up Bridge Street and into Henley Street, stopping at the Shakespeare statue.
To add to the morning of celebration, family sporting activities were held on the rec before and after the relay, including Learn to Ride sessions.
The baton had stopped off earlier that morning at Gaydon. It was welcomed at the British Motor Museum where the baton bearers were joined by the Queen’s 1953 Land Rover Series 1, which accompanied the Queen and Prince Philip on a six month Commonwealth tour soon after the Coronation.
The baton relay is on a 294-day long tour across the Commonwealth, which includes a journey across the length and breadth of England, before culminating at the Opening Ceremony for Birmingham 2022 on Thursday (July 28).
Warwickshire officially welcomed the baton on Thursday (July 21). Batonbearers carried it through North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth and Rugby on that day before it hit Warwick and Stratford districts on Friday.