Bearing the baton

For web community batonbearer elizabeth ferris (27), from dundee (2)

Meet the Scots with extraordinary stories who have been chosen to carry the Queen’s message to the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow.

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3rd April 2014 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

“It’s an honour to be nominated as a baton bearer, so when I learned I was being selected I was so excited.” Alan Stewart

“It’s an honour to be nominated as a baton bearer, so when I learned I was being selected I was so excited.” Alan Stewart

The founder of a disability sports club in Dundee, a serial fundraiser and a mental health worker are just some of the top Scots selected to carry the Queens’ baton in the run up to this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

With organisers placing an emphasis on rewarding people for carrying out work in their communities, grassroots volunteers and charity workers feature heavily on the list of 4,000 baton bearers.

Three years ago medical student Elizabeth Ferris (27) couldn’t envisage being hailed a local hero, but becoming a full-time wheelchair user following an accident changed her life. 

The keen sports fan refused to let injury hold her back, forming Dundee’s first wheelchair sports club the Dundee Dragons Wheelchair Rugby League Club. It now also offers wheelchair basketball, tennis and curling sessions as well as rugby. 

“It’s a huge honour to have been chosen as a baton bearer,” said Ferris.

“Hopefully it shows other wheelchair users that their disability doesn’t have to define them.

“There really are no barriers to what you can achieve.”

My volunteering work is about community inclusiveness ... and so, on some level, it’s parallel to what the Queen’s baton is all about - Linda Anderson-Kerr

Also selected for thinking of others despite adversity is Alan Stewart (50) from Peeblesshire. He underwent a life-saving kidney transplant in 2009 and since then has raised awareness of organ donation.

Together with his wife Susan, he is completing 100 sporting challenges to celebrate his 50th birthday.

“I’ve been given the chance to enjoy sport again, in a way that I did before my kidneys failed,” he said.

“The Queen’s baton relay will give me the chance to show organ donation in a positive light and I can’t wait to carry the baton through my local community.” 

Volunteer Linda Anderson-Kerr (55) from Oban supports people who live in remote and rural areas and who experience mental health issues or have dementia, through Distance Highland Befrienders.

She said she was delighted to be selected to play a small part in history. “The Queen’s baton symbolises the coming together of Commonwealth Nations.

“My volunteering work is about community inclusiveness and trying to stop isolation, and so, on some level, it’s parallel to what the Queen’s baton is all about.

“To be chosen is just amazing.”

“When I found out I was quite overcome to be honest, it’s a great honour.” Linda Anderson-Kerr

“When I found out I was quite overcome to be honest, it’s a great honour.” Linda Anderson-Kerr

The relay reaches Scotland on 14 June. By the time it arrives it will have travelled 190,000 kilometres through 69 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.

David Grevemberg, chief executive of Glasgow 2014, congratulated Elizabeth, Alan and Linda and all the others selected.

“We’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the hard work, courage and perseverance of so many inspiring people,” he said. 

“The Queen’s baton relay is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for communities to celebrate everything that’s great about Scotland, and thank the extraordinary baton bearers who selflessly make a positive difference to the lives of others.”

To follow the baton visit glasgow2014.com/batonrelay.

Baton facts [Pass them on...]
4,000 baton bearers have been selected from the 32 local authorities
All 545 Scottish secondary schools nominated a pupil
The relay reaches Scotland on 14 June and finishes at the opening ceremony on 23 July
The Queen’s message, enclosed in the baton, will be read at the opening ceremony
The baton will have travelled 190,000km through 69 nations and territories of the Commonwealth before reaching Scotland
In Scotland the baton will visit 400 communities in 40 days
A vast programme of sports and cultural events will take place along the route