Winchester is one of six areas that has been selected within the Southeast region to take part in the Queen’s Baton Relay for this year’s upcoming Commonwealth Games. The Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) was launched on 7th October 2021 from Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II placed her message to the Commonwealth inside the Baton. The Baton then departed from Birmingham for a 254 day journey travelling through each Commonwealth nation and territory in Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas before returning to the UK, covering a total of 140,000 kilometres.
The Baton will visit Winchester on Wednesday 6th July at the Winchester Sport and Leisure Park and University of Winchester’s Sports Stadium at approximately 2pm. The new state-of-the-art sport and leisure park, coupled with the University of Winchester’s high-profile athletic track are key factors for Winchester having the opportunity to showcase the Baton.
Winchester City Council, in partnership with Everyone Active and the University of Winchester, have organised a primary school Commonwealth Games sports festival. Over 100 pupils from selected local primary schools will take part in a range of commonwealth sports from 10am – 3pm on 6th July. When the Baton arrives on-site, children will have the opportunity to walk around the athletics track with the Baton. The Blue Apple Theatre will be performing a dance routine whilst the Baton is on its journey around the track.
From 1pm onwards, the public are invited to join a community picnic at the University of Winchester Sports Stadium grounds, with an opportunity for families to see the baton arrive.
Helen Thomas, Sports Facilities Development Manager at the University of Winchester, said:
“The University of Winchester Sports Stadium is proud to be co-hosting the prestigious QBR and to be providing local primary school children access to our sports facilities, which might inspire them to take up one of the sports on offer.”
Winchester is lucky enough to have two venues for the Baton within the district, with the next stop at Hambledon’s Broadhalfpenny Down Cricket Ground at approximately 4pm. Winchester College will be playing against the Brigands who usually play on the ground. The Baton will be greeted, and the team will run around the outfield and then meet players and spectators at the monument and in the Bat and Ball pub.
Cllr Lucille Thomson, Winchester City Council’s Cabinet Member for Business and Culture, said:
“It is a huge honour for the Winchester district to be hosting the Queen’s Relay Baton at two fantastic locations.
We have invested a lot into improving the sports and leisure facilities for our local residents and we are honoured to have our district chosen twice in this showcase event for the Queen’s Baton Relay.
Local people are welcome to come along to both the University of Winchester Sports Stadium and Broadpenny Down Cricket Ground to witness a moment in history and cheer on the Queen’s Baton Relay team as they arrive and take laps before moving on to the next leg of their international tour.”