Her Majesty The Queen launched the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay on its global journey on Wednesday 9 October in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace attended by some of Scotland's greatest athletes, inspirational young people and senior representatives from across the Commonwealth.
Accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, The Queen placed Her message calling the athletes of the Commonwealth to next summer's Games inside a baton specially crafted in Scotland which will now travel to the 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth before being opened at the Opening Ceremony.
HRH Prince Imran, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation and Lord Smith, Chairman of the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, took part in the ceremony, which also included a special performance from world-renowned classical violinist, Nicola Benedetti.
Sprint legend Allan Wells, winner of two Commonwealth Gold medals and the 100m Olympic title at the 1980 Olympic Games, was the first athlete to receive the baton, joined by honorary batonbearer Monica Dzonzi, UNICEF youth ambassador from Malawi.
They were then supported by further batonbearers from Team Scotland: Olympic swimmer and double Commonwealth Gold medallist Caitlin McLatchey; Gymnast and Olympic Bronze medallist Daniel Purvis; Team Scotland gymnast Cara Kennedy; Team Scotland triple jumper Morgan McKinnon; Scottish Junior swimmer Ruairi Kirkwood.
Joining the athletes were Glasgow 2014’s first selected Games-time volunteer, known as Clyde-siders, Izzy Conway; Glasgow 2014 Tartan designer Aamir Mehmood; former Scotland's Strongest Man Gregor Edmunds; passionate advocate for Para-Sport at Glasgow 2014 Julie McElroy; Glasgow 2014 Mascot designer Beth Gilmour and the Official Glasgow 2014 Mascot Clyde.
Seventy young people chosen by UNICEF UK, the world’s leading children's organisation and international charity partner of the Games, carried flags from the 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
Crowds gathered outside the Palace as the celebrations began when Sir Chris Hoy, six-time Gold Olympian, double Commonwealth champion and UNICEF UK ambassador, was the Baton's special escort as it made the processional journey to the ceremony accompanied by the Pipes and Drums of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards and Pipes and Drums 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (Royal Scots Borderers).
The Queen’s Baton Relay is the world’s most engaging relay, a special tradition of the Games that unites the two billion citizens of the Commonwealth in a celebration of sport, diversity and peace.
It is a unique and dynamic opportunity for Glasgow and Scotland to connect with all of nations and territories of the Commonwealth, sharing the excitement and opportunities of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games as well as our culture, creativity and enterprise.
Tomorrow, the baton will return to Scotland before departing Scotland for Delhi – host city of the 2010 Commonwealth Games – from where it will visit EVERY nation and territory of the Commonwealth, before travelling the length and breadth of Scotland on the way to its final destination – the Opening Ceremony.
Over 248 days and 190,000km the baton will visit all the nations and territories of the Commonwealth and be the first baton ever to visit Rwanda. The baton will be in England for an extended two week period from 31 May to 13 June - and we're sure many Run England groups will be involved!
The international journey of the baton will be captured by global adventurer Mark Beaumont who will report for The One Show, BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio Scotland, along with BBC News outlets, and online.
This is the first formal moment for the Baton, a unique object specially-designed for Glasgow 2014 in Scotland. The titanium, wood and granite creation symbolises Glasgow and Scotland’s culture, history and innovation by combining leading-edge technology with traditional skills and craft.
Lord Smith of Kelvin, Glasgow 2014 Chairman, said: "It has been a hugely significant day for the Games and a real honour to be part of the ceremony at Buckingham Palace. It was not just a celebration of the baton but of the young people of the Commonwealth and it was a pleasure to have so many of them take part."