Thursday, January 30, 2014
Lowestoft is to be thrust in the national sporting arena again when the town hosts the Commonwealth Games baton as it makes way to this summer’s games in Glasgow.
The Queen’s Baton Relay will be coming to Lowestoft on the morning on June 9 before it heads to Newmarket, Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich on the same day.
Suffolk is the only county in East Anglia to be visited by the baton on its two week journey across England between May 31 and June 13.
The aim of the baton relay is to drum up support for Team England at the Commonwealth Games which start in Glasgow in July.
June’s arrival of the baton, which contains a message from the Queen to the Commonwealth, will come less than two years after the people of Lowestoft lined the streets of the town in large numbers to cheer on the Olympic Torch Relay.
And Colin Law, leader of Waveney District Council, hopes in June that the residents of Lowestoft will recreate the scenes from July 2012 when an estimated 10,000 people gathered in Lowestoft town centre to watch the Olympic Torch go past.
Mr Law said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Queen’s Baton Relay is coming to Lowestoft and I really hope we will get a repeat of the amazing scenes we enjoyed during the Olympic Torch Relay.
“The people of the town did us proud that day and more of the same would be wonderful.
“Having also recently staged a leg of the Tour of Britain cycle race, it is clear that Lowestoft is a popular choice for major national events like this and our communities should be really proud on the great impression they gave to organisers.”
Details are still at an early stage regarding the full details of the Lowestoft leg of the relay but organisers say it will involve “a breakfast event” on the town’s seafront.
Once in Newmarket the baton relay will head to the Rowley Mile race course and then visit a school’s sport event in Bury St Edmunds.
In Ispwich the relay will end on June 9 by visiting an athletics event at the Northgate Sports centre and then a celebration event at Christchurch Park, where a similar event was held for the Olympic Torch Relay in 2012.
The Queen’s Baton Relay is the traditional curtain-raiser to the Commonwealth Games, which are held every four years.
By the time it arrives in England, the baton will have toured 68 countries and territories taking part in the games.
The baton contains a message from the Queen to the Commonwealth which will be read out at the opening ceremony of the Glasgow games.
Olympic and Commonwealth gold winner runner Dame Kelly Holmes and Commonwealth Games England President, said: “Suffolk has a huge sporting tradition and I know that people here will support the English athletes at the games.
“The relay is a great chance to both send your backing to the team in Glasgow and have a go at some of the sports that will be available at relay events.”