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Gala reception for jubilee baton

PUBLISHED: 15:26 26 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:10 03 March 2010

A GALA reception was held in Ipswich to mark the passage of the Queen's Jubilee baton relay as it made its way across the region.

The baton, carried by local athletes, passed through towns and villages including Chelmsford, Colchester, Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds, and was carried by a variety of runners for about 500 yards each.

A GALA reception was held in Ipswich to mark the passage of the Queen's Jubilee baton relay as it made its way across the region.

The baton, carried by local athletes, passed through towns and villages including Chelmsford, Colchester, Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds, and was carried by a variety of runners for about 500 yards each.

Over a thousand people saw the baton make its voyage to Ipswich Cornhill last night and were treated to a host of local live bands as part of the evening's entertainment.

A face from the past had the honour of carrying the baton on the last leg of the day.

Ted Sampson, 66, of Offton, near Ipswich, competed in the Commonwealth Games in 1958 and after he completed his run he compared his experiences to today's athletes.

He said: "In a way there has been more organisation to the build up now and in those days it was a bit more casual. We were still all amateurs then although we trained very hard. I think nowadays it is the same but with more razzmatazz."

A group of around 20 British athletes, who all live or are based in Ipswich, joined in the celebrations at the Cornhill including swimming champion Karen Pickering.

She said: "It is great to be here and it makes you realise how close the games are. This sort of thing definitely raises the profile of the games.

"There is not much going on at the moment with the World Cup and Wimbledon on but as soon as they are over I'm sure that the games will be very popular," she added.

Ipswich Mayor Richard Risebrow welcomed the baton on behalf of the people of Ipswich borough and, in a speech to the crowd, he called on people to "share in the spirit of friendship of the Commonwealth Games".

The relay was due to set off from Ipswich today for Norfolk via Lowestoft and will be back in Suffolk briefly when it stays overnight in Newmarket tomorrow.

It will then visit other parts of Britain before arriving in Manchester for the opening ceremony of the XVII Commonwealth Games later next month.

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