Words by Ed King / Pics by Angela Chapman
Hundreds of people turned out on Pype Hayes Park today to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to Erdington.
Over the last 269 days the Baton Relay has travelled through all 72 countries of the Commonwealth, covering 90,000 miles, before coming to the Games 2022 host city of Birmingham for the final leg of its globetrotting journey.
Over 7500 people have handed the Baton to each other, bringing the Queen’s message bearing icon to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games 2022 Opening Ceremony on Thursday, 28 July.
Having travelled through 180 communities across England over the last 25 days, the Baton ended up in Pype Hayes Park just after midday – with a backdrop of free games and activities to keep the celebration going.
Soft archery, karate demonstrations, a gaming van, and a special army inflatable for young people to test their strength and endurance were all set up on the green space by the Chester Road entrance.
Flags, frisbees, and footballs were given out, branded with the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022 colours and logo, for people to play with during the Baton Relay and take home as a special souvenir of the day.
People of all ages spent hours in the park before and after the Baton Relay had come through Erdington, after making its way down to Pype Hayes from Sutton Coldfield.
Local mum, Angela Chapman, told Erdington Local: “We were probably there for about an hour and a half, we had a picnic and met family and friends there.
“It was a really lovely community atmosphere; it was lovely to see that many people out in Pype Hayes Park, there was a really good turn out – a real buzz as well.
“One of the highlights was when Perry (the bull – official Games 2022 mascot) appeared and was high fiving all the children, he got the crowd going before the Baton bearers came through. Everyone was waving their flags; it was a really lovely moment.
“When the baton bearers came through everyone was just cheering and clapping, it was just a lovely thing to see.
“It sparked that excitement for the Opening Ceremony tonight, and because the event and activities were free it was really open to everyone, which was great to see.”
Angela’s daughters, Florrie (10) and Violet (7), were also getting in on the fun and festivities.
They told: “It was really exciting; the park was full of games and people. We got to play on this big inflatable army assault course and do a karate class.
“Seeing Perry was amazing; he gave us all high fives before the runners with the Baton came through the park. It was a really happy day.”
“So nice to see so many people turn up of all ages and cultures to welcome the baton.
“And the cherry on the cake, we got the betting shop proposal stopped on the High Street. Peace and love.”
The Commonwealth Games 2022 launched in Birmingham with the official Opening Ceremony on Thursday, 28 July – with 11 subsequent days of sporting competition and activity.
Fighting for England, Kingstanding boxer Nial Farrell will be competing in the Games – with bouts scheduled at the NEC.
For more on the Commonwealth Games 2022 visit www.birmingham2022.com