The Commonwealth Baton has arrived on the Rock as part of the Gold Coast 2018 Queen’s Relay.
The Baton toured local schools yesterday much to the delight of pupils who excitedly jumped at the chance to touch it.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games will be held in Australia and as per tradition the Baton will travel across the globe.
The Baton will cover 230,000km over 388 days making its way through the six Commonwealth regions of Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
It is currently over half-way through its relay where it will land on Australian soil this December and spend 100 days travelling across the country.
This week it is on a tour of the Rock. Yesterday the Baton toured local middle schools St Anne’s, Bishop Fitzgerald, St Bernard’s, Loreto Convent and St Joseph’s, then moving on to visit the senior citizens at Mount Alvernia.
Today the Baton is on a tour of the Upper Rock and at midday will be carried up Main Street from Casemates to No6 Convent Place.
“The Queen’s Baton Relay has come to Gibraltar and the Baton is going from country to country all around the Commonwealth,” said Vice-President for Europe Chris Jenkins.
“It has been in Europe since mid-August. We came in from Jersey and we’re staying in Gibraltar for four days. Unlike the Olympic Torch it is very inclusive so we want lots of people to touch the Baton so many tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands can touch the Baton as it goes its way around the Commonwealth.”
“We bring the Baton into the room and the reaction is just awe. They all get to touch it and there is a Queen’s message within it that will be read out next April so it does have this powerful aura about it that really excites kids and adults too. It’s great to see the effect it has on people.”
Local swimmer Jim Sanderson gave a presentation at each of the schools about his experience attending two Commonwealth Games and a Youth Commonwealth Games.
He told the children how he was able to meet Olympians Usain Bolt and Tom Daley, and if they try hard enough at sports the children could also attend the Commonwealth Games.
Mr Sanderson clung onto the Baton as the children eagerly lined up to touch it.
Kate Shaw from Australia has been travelling with the Baton and gave a short presentation on the history of the games.
“This Baton has come all the way from Australia and represents three things, our past, present and future,” Ms Shaw said.
The back of the Baton is made from macadamia wood, which is native to the Gold Coast and represents Australia’s indigenous heritage. The stainless steel on the centre of the Baton represents the present.
“The front represents our future and it also made from plastic collected from beaches and the oceans in the Gold Coast,” Ms Shaw said.
“We collected containers, plastic bottles and fishing net and we crushed it up and moulded it for the front. That is to send an environmental message to the Commonwealth. The most important part is the message the Queen placed into the Baton earlier this year on March 13. The message is making its way all around the Commonwealth.”
The message will be read on the opening ceremony in April next year and will declare the Games officially open.
Within the Baton are changing colourful lights that reflect the colours of the Gold Coast.
Blue represents the ocean and sky’s, pink and purple represent the sunrise and sunset, and yellow represents the golden beaches.
The Baton was designed with accessibility in mind so it can attach to wheelchairs and parts of the body.
The Commonwealth team and Baton will be departing from the Rock on Thursday.
Photo by Neil Wilson