Words Erdington news team
Erdington and Castle Vale will be represented in this year’s Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay – with a local author and LGBTQ+ campaigner chosen to carry the prestigious symbol on part of its journey.
Erdington author and entrepreneur CJ Lloyd Webley has been chosen as a Batonbearer and will be carrying the iconic baton in the final stages of the relay as it makes it way to Alexander Stadium.
He said: “I’m so honoured to have been chosen as a Batonbearer for the West Midlands. Being able to carry the Baton in my home area is so special.
“The anticipation is really ramping up for the Queen’s Baton Relay and Birmingham 2022. I’m thrilled I get to play a part in it.”
Brought up on the Lyndhurst estate, CJ chose drama as a diversion from the crime which his peers fell into – after landing a part in a production of Oliver Twist.
Penning plays which reflect the lives of his and other marginalised communities for the Birmingham Rep, CJ recently was an assistant director on a project about the Grenfell Tower disaster.
He also established Black Pounds in 2020 which runs a mentorship programme, offering support to freelancers, sole-traders, and start-ups.
A spokesman for Birmingham 2022 said: “CJ Lloyd Webley has been chosen as a Batonbearer for the West Midlands for making a positive impact within his community.”
As his role as Batonbearer, CJ has already met Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Castle Vale LGBTQ+ campaigner Piero Zizzi has also been chosen as a Batonbearer ahead of the Commonwealth Games 2022.
Piero founded the West Bromwich Albion LGBTQ+ supporters’ group which has won awards for its inclusivity.
He also runs Pride House which will be welcoming LGBTQ+ athletes and visitors to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games.
Piero said: “Pride House is a safe and welcoming space, which aims to provide an inclusive environment for LGBTIQ+ supporters, athletes, staff, volunteers, and organisations at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth games.
“As a proud Brummie, I’m honoured to be carrying the #QBR2022 baton on its last stretch as it reaches the West Midlands and Birmingham.”
He added: “We have a unique opportunity; through the power of sport, to bring together communities and organisations from across the city to celebrate the diversity, innovation and talent that makes this city so great.”
The Baton is now part way through its 294-day-long journey, travelling through Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean, and the Americas, covering approximately 90,000 miles.
The Commonwealth Gales 2022 comes to Birmingham from 28 July to 8 August, with the main bulk of the competition held at the Alexander Stadium, Perry Barr – alongside further events in Solihull, Coventry, Cannock, Leamington Spa, Warwick, and Wolverhampton, and London.
Have you or someone you know been chosen as a Batonbearer?
Are you involved in the Commonwealth Games 2022, are you competing, or taking part in a weird or wonderful way? If so, Erdington Local wants to hear for you – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on the Queen’s Baton Relay visit www.birmingham2022.com/queens-baton-relay