Birmingham is to host the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay this year, with a journey which brings together and celebrates communities across the Commonwealth during the build up to the Commonwealth Games.
Travelling via land, air and sea, more than 180 communities in England will experience the Queen’s Baton on a route spanning 2,500 miles over a total of 29 days, ahead of the opening ceremony for Birmingham 2022, on July 28.
Between 40 and 130 Batonbearers will carry the Baton each day, and it will tour the North East of England on July 14 and July 15.
On Thursday, July 14, the Baton will travel through Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Redcar, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Durham, Seaham, and Sunderland.
And on Friday, July 15 the Baton will then visit South Shields, Whitley Bay, Blyth, Alnwick, Gateshead, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Highlights across the two days will see the Baton travel by speedboat in Stockton on Tees, visit skateboarders in Whitley Bay, be abseiled from a wind turbine in the Port of Blyth, as well as visiting the Angel of the North.
During the South Shields leg, the Baton will enter the borough via Whitburn, heading north along The Leas to the New Crown Roundabout, where communities will be encouraged to line the route along Sea Road to Harbour Drive North at Littlehaven, South Shields.
The Baton is expected to arrive early morning, but further details of the event will be announced over the coming months.
Councillor Joan Atkinson, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “We are incredibly honoured and excited that South Tyneside has been selected to play a key part in the Queen’s Baton Relay through the region this summer.
“The Queen’s Baton Relay is a tradition that celebrates, connects and excites communities across the Commonwealth during the build up to the Games, which is such an amazing event itself."
One of the community Batonbearers for the North East will be Ann Walsh, from East Boldon, who was nominated by the council in recognition of her work raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK and organising the annual Relay for Life at Jarrow’s Monkton Stadium.
Ann said: “I was delighted to find out that I had been nominated to be a Batonbearer but had no idea who had actually nominated me.
“When I found out I had actually been selected I couldn’t believe it. It’s a huge honour and privilege to have been chosen to represent the area on such an important occasion.”
It is hoped that members of the public are encouraged to get involved with the celebrations and “embrace the arrival of the Baton”, taking the opportunity to experience “the buzz” of Birmingham 2022 in their own community.
Phil Batty, director of the Queen’s Baton Relay, said: “We hope that communities across the country join the excitement, attend events near them, line the streets to cheer on our incredible Batonbearers and celebrate the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”