NEWS: “It made me proud to be a Brummie,” hundreds welcome the Queens Baton Relay to Pype Hayes Park

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.

There was also a giant screen where people could challenge each other to a live basketball computer game, hosted by Ed James.

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.

“For me it made me proud to be a Brummie, the whole build up over the last few days has been amazing, bringing colour to the city everywhere you go.

“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.”

Local resident, Alan Thomson, added: “Today was a great day for the people of B23/24. So many good things are happening not only in Birmingham but in Erdington too.

“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

NEWS: Erdington author and Castle Vale LGBTQ+ campaigner chosen as Commonwealth Games Batonbearers

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.

The Queen has placed a message inside the Baton which will be read out at the Opening Ceremony of Birmingham 2022 on 28 July, after travelling to all 72 Commonwealth countries.

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.

Through his talent as an actor and then as a writer, CJ forged a successful career which has seen him being described as one of the hottest talents in the UK.

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.

He added: “It was great to have been asked to facilitate a meet and greet between the Prime Minister and Birmingham 2022 volunteers and baton bearers.”

Follow CJ’s Batonbearer journey on Twitter @cjlloydwebley

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.”

Follow Piero’s Batonbearer journey on Twitter @PieroZizzi

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:

For more on the Queen’s Baton Relay visit