Video/Gallery: Queen’s Baton Relay for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games visits Christchurch Park in Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 20:32 09 June 2014 | UPDATED: 22:34 09 June 2014
Hundreds of people gathered at Christchurch Park in Ipswich as the Queen’s Baton Relay for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games marched across Suffolk.
In the evening sun, 80-year-old fitness guru Ken Webb proudly jogged through the park with the Queen’s Baton before passing it over to Ipswich’s Paralympian star Zoe Newson on centre stage.
Activities including volleyball, badminton and hockey, played within an inflatable pitch, were held for youngsters during the two-hour celebration of sport.
The Queen’s Baton has been on a 198,000km relay across the Commonwealth, visiting 70 nations and territories to build excitement for the tournament.
Mr Webb said carrying the baton was an honour. He entered the park flanked by schoolchildren before parading the baton with gusto on stage. He even danced along to Pharrell Williams’ number one hit Happy.
“It meant a lot to me,” he said. “I have worked hard in my life and it is important both children and adults keep healthy.”
His son, Rowan, filmed the event for family members in Jamaica to treasure.
“I am very proud of him,” he said. “At school sports days, he would always win the parents race – by a huge distance! This is the jewel in the crown for him.”
Zoe Newson said sport played an important role in the lives of young people.
“It is great that big events like these encourage youngsters to try sports they may not otherwise play,” the London 2012 Paralympics bronze medallist said.
Beth Tweddle, ambassador for Commonwealth Games England, also attended the event.
She said: “It was a brilliant atmosphere in Ipswich. I think the Commonwealth Games will inspire people like the London Olympics and Paralympics did.”
Alistair Dick, of Ipswich, visited with his wife Emma Crowhurst, 48, and Northgate High School pupils Tilly Crowhurst, 14, and Bobby Crowhurst, 11.
“We have got tickets for the Commonwealth Games to see rugby sevens, netball, hockey and athletics. Hopefully it will inspire our children to take up a sport,” he said.
Adam Baker, Suffolk County Council’s Queen’s Baton Relay programme manager, believes the Commonwealth Games will invoke warm memories of the London Olympics and Paralympics.
“People remember the Olympics and Paralympics in London fondly and the Commonwealth Games will be an opportunity to relive that while promoting Team England and sport as a whole,” he said.
Earlier in the day the Queen’s Baton Relay stopped by at Northgate High School in Ipswich, where a huge sports day was held for students, while it also swept through Lowestoft, Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds.
The Queen’s Baton contains a message from the Queen that will be read out at the July 23 opening ceremony.
Up to 4,000 people will carry Her Majesty’s message, before it is read out at the opening ceremony.
The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games takes place from July 23 to August 3.