Baton arrives in town
COMMONWEALTH Games fever is set to come to Ipswich today – with a fanfare to match the event.In a sport-soaked summer, the Commonwealth Games is set to be one of the highlights.
COMMONWEALTH Games fever is set to come to Ipswich today – with a fanfare to match the event.
In a sport-soaked summer, the Commonwealth Games is set to be one of the highlights. And the games baton is passing through Ipswich on its way to host city Manchester.
Before reaching Ipswich, the baton has visited 23 Commonwealth countries and covered more than 60,000 miles.
The baton was being carried into Ipswich by 12 athletes from the town, before being greeted by flag-waving crowds lining the Cornhill.
Ipswich Mayor Richard Risebrow, was receiving the baton on behalf of the people of Ipswich and Suffolk before delivering the official baton relay message.
He said: "This is a great honour for Ipswich and Suffolk. We have been looking forward to this event for many months and to the Queen's visit in July.
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"I hope people off all ages will line the route or come to the Cornhill to make this a right royal occasion for Suffolk."
Festivities to greet the baton, which set out from Buckingham Palace with a message from the Queen, started on the Cornhill today.
BBC Radio Suffolk's Stephen Foster has organised the entertainment.
Swagger, Trevor Sone, Short People, Rachel Foskett, the Ipswich Caribbean Steel Band and Kirk – the Ambassador of Rock n' Roll will perform under the watchful eye of DJ Nick Risby.
Ipswich's own Commonwealth Games veteran Ted Sampson, 66, was enjoying the honour of bringing the baton to the Cornhill.
Ted, who competed at what was then called the Empire Games in Cardiff in 1958, once held the Commonwealth and European titles for 440 yards.
Early today he was putting in some practice on the Cornhill with fellow baton runners Hayley Todd, 14, and Bob Williams, 61.
Hayley runs for Ipswich Harriers while Bob, who like Ted ran in championship games, runs for Thames Valley Harriers and works with young athletes.
Bob said: "I carried the baton in 1958 to the games in Cardiff where I saw Ted run. It's wonderful to be accepted again."
An Ipswich sporting great of more modern vintage, international swimmer Karen Pickering, will pick up the baton tomorrow as it winds its way to Norwich tomorrow.
Baton bearers are due at the Copdock Mill roundabout at about 6pm. They will then head down London Road, Handford Road, Civic Drive, Franciscan Way, Greyfriars Road, Star Lane, Foundation Street, Lower Brook Street and Upper Brook Street before reaching the Cornhill.