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Commonwealth Games baton relay to visit Gravesend, Canterbury, Tonbridge, Dover, Deal and Folkestone ahead of Birmingham games


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The Queen's Baton Relay is coming to Kent this summer ahead of this year's Commonwealth Games.

Tonbridge, Dover, Deal, Folkestone, Canterbury and Gravesend have all been included in the route the baton is taking across the UK before it arrives in Birmingham for the Games' official opening ceremony.

The Queen's Baton Relay is coming to Kent this summer

Since its inaugural appearance at the Cardiff 1958 event, the relay has been a tradition of the Commonwealth Games.

This year, the baton is set to travel across the country for a total of 29 days, visiting more than 180 communities on a 2,500 mile route, before finishing at the Opening Ceremony in the Midlands on July 28.

Thousands of Batonbearers, each with inspiring backgrounds and stories, will carry the baton, including those nominated in recognition of their contributions to their local community, whether that be in sport, education, the arts, culture or charity.

Between 40 and 130 people will carry it each day.

The Baton's time in London will coincide with Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Picture: MOD
The Baton's time in London will coincide with Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Picture: MOD

In Kent...

Kicking off on June 2, the baton will spend four days in London, coinciding with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Weekend, and then resume its international journey, returning to England on July 4 to commence a 25-day tour of the regions.

It will be welcomed in Kent, and its first stop will be Tonbridge, on Thursday, July 7 before moving on to Canterbury, Folkestone, Deal, and Dover on the same day.

The next stage of its journey through the county will begin in Gravesend the following morning - Friday, July 8 - between 8am and 9am before it leaves Kent for the next section of its route through neighbouring Essex.

Thousands turned out to see the Olympic flame be carried through Kent in 2012
Thousands turned out to see the Olympic flame be carried through Kent in 2012

When the London Olympic Torch Relay came through Kent in the summer of 2012, thousands of people crammed onto pavements and lined streets across the county to see the chosen torch-bearers carry the flame through the streets and organisers are hopeful that the Commonwealth Games relay will generate a similar level of excitement and interest from the public as it passes through.

School children will welcome the Batonbearers into Tonbridge Castle
School children will welcome the Batonbearers into Tonbridge Castle

Tonbridge will officially welcome the Baton with Batonbearers due to arrive at the south end of the High Street at around 9am. It will then move along the High Street to Tonbridge Castle where those involved will be joined by local school children.

Cllr Des Keers, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council's lead cabinet member for community, said: “It’s a great honour for Tonbridge to be chosen to host a stage of the Queen’s Baton Relay.

"I know many people will be excited by the prospect and wish to cheer on the inspirational Batonbearers as they undertake this leg of their momentous journey around the Commonwealth.

"We look forward to extending them a warm welcome to our town for what will be a very special addition to its proud history.”

The baton's route through Canterbury will finish with an event at the iconic Cathedral
The baton's route through Canterbury will finish with an event at the iconic Cathedral

Further down the route in Canterbury, the baton will be carried on a route across the city, which will conclude with a community event within the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral.

The council also has plans for a series of additional community events, possibly centred around music and sport, to coincide with the main parade through the city to ensure the day is one to remember.

Leader of Canterbury City Council, Cllr Ben Fitter-Harding, said: "We are delighted that Canterbury will be playing its part in this international celebration of sport and communities, and are already looking forward to what will be a very special day.

"Seeing the Queen's Baton being carried through the cobbled streets of our historic city will be a lovely sight, and we really want to make as much of the occasion as possible."

Gravesend's Gurdwara is among the places getting ready to welcome the baton relay
Gravesend's Gurdwara is among the places getting ready to welcome the baton relay

The following morning in Gravesend it will visit the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara before being carried through the streets to Town Pier where it will be taken on board a boat and ferried across the River Thames to Tilbury to start its tour of Eastern England.

Cllr John Burden, the leader of Gravesham council, said: “Gravesend and our friends across the water in Tilbury have some of the deepest links with the Commonwealth in the country, so it is especially pleasing to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to the town.

“In June it will be 74 years since the SS Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury Docks carrying the first Caribbean migrants to the UK, who would go on to help re-build Britain after the Second World War. Some of those first arrivals made their way over the water here to Gravesend, where they settled and laid the foundations of a community that still thrives here today, living, working and playing alongside others with their family roots firmly embedded in Commonwealth countries and elsewhere.

“The visit of the Queen’s Baton Relay is high profile recognition of how our town and borough has welcomed our cousins from the Commonwealth and beyond with open arms.”

Six places in Kent have been chosen to form the relay route through the county
Six places in Kent have been chosen to form the relay route through the county

The Birmingham 2022 Relay began at Buckingham Palace on October 7, when The Queen placed her message to the Commonwealth into the baton and passed it to four-time Paralympic gold medallist Kadeena Cox, who became the first baton bearer.

Since then, it has visited Commonwealth nations and territories in Europe, Africa, Oceania.

The Baton Relay began at Buckingham Palace last year, sent on its way with a message from The Queen
The Baton Relay began at Buckingham Palace last year, sent on its way with a message from The Queen

Phil Batty, director of ceremonies, culture and Queen's Baton Relay, said: “Whilst the baton has been travelling across the Commonwealth, we have worked closely with local authorities in England to devise a route that engages with hundreds of communities, passing sport venues, historic sites, local schools and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

"Yet the Queen’s Baton Relay is far more than just a journey. It symbolises connecting people from every corner of the Commonwealth, celebrates Batonbearers who take on challenges, and marks the countdown the biggest sporting event in West Midlands history.

"And by the time the baton returns to England for the final leg, 71 nations and territories will have already experienced the magic that comes with it.

"We hope that communities across the country join the excitement, attend events near them, line the streets to cheer on our incredible Batonbearers and celebrate the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games."

It has even been underwater in Cyprus. Picture: Commonwealth Games Federation
It has even been underwater in Cyprus. Picture: Commonwealth Games Federation

The Queen’s Baton for this year's competition was created in a West Midlands collaboration that fused art, technology and science.

Made from copper, aluminium and steel, the baton also features a platinum strand in homage to The Queen in her Platinum Jubilee year. It is also equipped with cutting-edge technology – a 360-degree camera, heart rate monitor, atmospheric sensors and LED lighting.

The baton has been in Singapore. Picture: Commonwealth Games Federation
The baton has been in Singapore. Picture: Commonwealth Games Federation

Throughout this month, the relay continues its journey through the Caribbean and the Americas, with visits to St Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, Bermuda and Canada, amongst others.

The dates of when the baton visits each English region are:

  • July 4 – July 5: South West
  • July 6 – July 7: South East
  • July 8 – July 9: East of England
  • July 10 – July 11: East Midlands
  • July 12 – July 13: Yorkshire and the Humber
  • July 14 – July 15: North East
  • July 16 – July 17: North West
  • July 18 – July 28: West Midlands
Commonwealth Baton Relay in the Maldives (56581110)
Commonwealth Baton Relay in the Maldives (56581110)

The information provided on the route through England is subject to local authority approval and therefore could be subject to change. Details of the best viewing points to enjoy the event will be announced soon.

For more information on the Queen’s Baton Relay, click here.

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