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COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Queen’s Baton Relay passes through Hemel Hempstead

 Published on: 22nd July 2022   |   By: Darius Morgan   |   Category: Uncategorized

The Queen’s Baton Relay came through Hemel Hempstead on its way to Birmingham, host city of the Commonwealth Games 2022.

The relay began back on October 7, 2021, when Her Majesty The Queen placed her message to the Commonwealth into the Baton at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace. The baton was then dispatched on a 294-day long journey to every corner of the Commonwealth, the journey connecting and embracing the variety of unique cultures and inspirational stores from all 72 nations and territories.

On July 8, just weeks before the opening ceremony of the Games takes place on July 28, the baton made its way through the streets of Hemel Hempstead.

The Baton arrived at the Rainbow stage in the town centre at 6pm. It toured past the Water Gardens, The Forum, Marlowes and Old Town before arriving in Gadebridge Park.

Members of the public were encouraged to get involved with the celebrations and embrace the Baton’s arrival. There were a variety of free sports activities on offer including tennis competitions (run by Berkhamsted Lawn Tennis and Squash Rackets Club) and various interactive sessions provided by Everyone Active, Viking Fitness, and Boxmoor Yoga.

A wellness festival was held in partnership with Hemel Hempstead BID in Gadebridge Park between 3.30pm – 7.30pm which included Mindfulness sessions and wellness talks.

There were free activities for children with fun inflatables, arts and crafts with Anna’s Funky Art, face-painting, bubble fun and a circus workshop. Entertainment was provided with performances from Gobstoppers Youth Theatre and Glee Club, Dacorum Indian Dance Society and Dacorum Community Dance.

A spokesperson for the Dacorum Borough Council said: “The festival provided the opportunity for residents and visitors to try out various free sports and wellness activities, enjoy the entertainment and soak up the atmosphere before welcoming the last Batonbearer on to the main stage to join in the celebrations.”

There were eight batonbearers that took part in the Hemel Hempstead relay. Batonbearers were selected from all nine regions of England, reflecting diversity in communities across the country. The chosen few were selected for a multitude of reasons, either by making an outstanding contribution in their field or having a unique and inspiring story.

One batonbearer for Hemel was Michael Pope, who started off the relay. Mike is the current Chair of the Dwarf Sports Association UK. He strives to make sport open and inclusive and advocate for all people with dwarfism throughout the UK. He has raised many thousands of pounds to help make sport more accessible for people with dwarfism.

Another was Rae Saleem of Hertfordshire, who fought back from a horrific bike accident that left multiple vertebrae embedded in his spinal cord. Once told he would never walk again, Rae has since taken part in many charitable missions for Comic Relief, including a 131.2 km quadrathlon in his local gym.

In an interview with Comic Relief, Rae said: “When I got the call that I was to be recognised for the work that I’ve done for me in my particular journey it’s one of the biggest privileges.”

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