The Birmingham Commonwealth Games commences later this month and the preceding Queen’s Baton Relay tour of the UK and other countries will reach Merseyside at the weekend.
The famous relay - the longest of its kind - is renowned for travelling the breadth of the globe.
There will be thousands of different baton bearers carrying the famous artefact throughout the UK ahead of the Games - which begins on Thursday, July 28, 2022.
What is the meaning of the relay? What route will it take through Merseyside and when will it arrive? Here is everything you need to know about The Queen’s Baton Relay in 2022.
What is the Queen’s Baton Relay?
The Queen’s Baton Relay is a race that has been at the core of the Commonwealth Games for over 60 years.
Launched in 1958 to prelude the event held in Cardiff, the Queen’s Baton Relay has become a tradition that has made it one of the longest of its kind in the world.
It is a way to celebrate the Commonwealth’s diversity whilst inspiring community pride and solidarity, as well as spotlighting sport as a tool to bring people together.
The baton carries a message from Queen Elizabeth II herself, travelling the world until it reaches the host city of the year’s Commonwealth Games. Here, the message from the Queen will be read out to signify the commencement of the event.
There is a new Baton created for every Commonwealth Games and it is designed by the country hosting it. This year’s Baton for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games was specially crafted by designers and technologists from the West Midlands.
It is made from copper, aluminium and steel and features a platinum strand in homage to The Queen in her Platinum Jubilee year. It is also equipped with cutting-edge technology; 360-degree camera, heart rate monitor, atmospheric sensors and LED lighting.
When did it start?
The Queen placed her message in the baton from Buckingham Palace on October 7, 2021.
To coincide with the monarch’s Platinum Jubilee Weekend, The Queen’s Baton Relay kicked off on Thursday, June 2.
It spent five days in London before resuming its international journey - returning to the British shores on Monday, July 4.
When will the race pass through Merseyside?
On Sunday, July 17, at 5pm, the baton will begin its journey through the Liverpool City Region following a tour of the 68 countries of the commonwealth.
The ceremony reaches Knowsley on Sunday, then Liverpool on Monday.
Queen’s Baton route and timings for Knowsley
The Baton will be met at Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park where the Batonbearers will be welcomed by a troupe of more than 100 Girl Guides from across Merseyside, forming a guard of honour as they make their way into the park. Huyton running group, Running Bugs will guide the Baton and Batonbearer to the Velodrome via a live bootcamp training session.
At the Velodrome the Baton will be passed to cyclists from Runcorn Cycling Club and Liverpool Century Cycling Club who will take the Baton on a lap before the Knowsley BMX Club perform a skills demonstration.
The Baton will travel on to Knowsley Safari Park in convoy where the relay will travel around the Foot Safari, with the runners passing by the giraffes and through the Tiger Trail. From there, the Batonbearers will travel into Prescot, via Warrington Road and will travel down Eccleston Street to the newly opened Shakespeare North Playhouse.
From around 6.15pm, before the Baton’s arrival in the town centre, crowds will be able to enjoy the start of the Baton Relay’s ‘End of Day’ celebration. When the Baton arrives at the new theatre, which opens tonight, it will take a trip inside the brand-new space and visit The Sir Ken Dodd Performance Garden where the Batonbearer will be greeted by a singing choir.
The convoy will then travel out to Prospero Place and the day will conclude with a world-first performance of ‘A Song for Prescot’ by pupils from Evelyn Community Primary School. The bells of Prescot Parish Church will be rung to signify the end of the relay as the Batonbearers depart.
Councillor Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council said: “This is a momentous occasion for Knowsley and one we should all feel very proud to be part of. I hope to see our communities take the opportunity to see the baton on its tour and enjoy the fantastic evening of events and entertainment we have planned to welcome The Queen’s Baton into our borough.”
Queen’s Baton route and timings for Liverpool
Olympians Beth Tweddle and Tom Bosworth, a Special Olympics champion and five community heroes will take part in the Queen’s Baton Relay when it arrives in Liverpool on Monday, July 18.
On Monday 18 July the city will welcome the relay which aims to bring together communities during the build up to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which starts with the Opening Ceremony on the 28 July.
At 8am on Monday, Beth will kick-off Liverpool’s leg of the relay which will start at the Pier Head, near the Beatles statue. Each Batonbearer will then travel on foot through the Albert Dock towards Keel Wharf.
From Keel Wharf, a short car journey, will take the remaining Batonbearers to Princes Avenue where it will be carried along the avenue, to Princes Park where a number of school children will welcome them.
It will then leave the city for its next location - Newcastle-under-Lyme - before heading off for a final stretch in-and-around the West Midlands area.
Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Visitor Economy, Councillor Harry Doyle, said: “It’s a privilege to be part of the build up to the Commonwealth Games, and even though the baton is only with us for a short time, as always we will give it a warm Liverpool welcome.
“I encourage people to line the route and cheer on our amazing Batonbearers - we hope their achievements will inspire people young and old to get involved in sport and activity, and you never know, we may uncover a future sporting champion!”