Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton begins journey
Her Majesty the Queen has launched the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton as part of Commonwealth Day celebrations. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Earl of Wessex, The Queen placed Her message to the Commonwealth and its athletes inside the distinctive Baton.
The Queen’s Baton will travel through the entire Commonwealth for 388 days, covering 230,000 kilometres to its final destination, the Opening Ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) on 4 April 2018.
Emily Dean, a nine-year-old middle distance runner from Southport, England, had the remarkable role of holding the message for Her Majesty before it was placed into the Baton. Emily was identified through the Adopt-a-Commonwealth Country program, part of GOLDOC’s international Schools Connect initiative.
For the first time at a commencement ceremony at Buckingham Palace, representatives of the Traditional Custodians of the land where the Commonwealth Games will be held, the Yugambeh Language Group People, delivered a moving invitation to all First Nations peoples of the Commonwealth to join in the celebrations of the Games on Yugambeh land.
The invitation reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s 2017 theme of a ‘Peace-building Commonwealth’.
The ceremony was capped off in classic Australian style when the Baton departed the Palace in the hands of world-renowned Gold Coast singer and environmental champion Cody Simpson aboard a Kombi van loaded with surfboards as a nod to the Baton’s final destination, Gold Coast, Australia. The first stop on the 288-day international journey to all nations and territories of the Commonwealth is Sierra Leone.
Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill DBE played a special role in the Commonwealth Day celebrations, taking the Baton down the aisle at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey.