The 2,500-mile final leg of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay route has been unveiled, starting with a five-day tour of London coinciding with the Platinum Jubilee.
The home leg of its journey will be taking in 180 towns, cities and villages up and down England and eventually reaching the West Midlands, signalling the symbolic start of the final countdown to the sporting contest’s beginning.
It will have taken 294 days and trips to each of the 72 nations that make up the Commonwealth by the time the final mile has been completed at the end of July.
Thousands of so-called Batonbearers will be taking turns along the journey – between 40 and 130 each day of the route – through England.
On June 2, the baton – which contains a message from the Queen to be read aloud at the Games’ opening ceremony – makes an early landfall in England, spending five days in London, coinciding with the monarch’s 70th year on the throne.
It will then be taken to the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, before going to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, and then tours of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Returning to England on July 4, there will be a 25-day tour of the nation signalling the last stage of its global travel programme.
The route will take the baton from coasts to cities, with the expectation it will attract the crowds as it passes through communities, with special events held to coincide with the occasion.
Notable locations are set to include Cornwall’s Eden Project on July 4, the caves beneath Nottingham Castle on July 10, a speedy trip on a zip wire in the Lake District on July 16 and on to Blackpool Tower the same day.
The relay concludes at the 17th-century Grade I listed manor of Aston Hall in Birmingham on July 28 – the day of the opening ceremony.
Phil Batty, director of ceremonies, culture and Queen’s Baton Relay, said a lot of work had gone into planning the route, adding it “symbolises connecting people from every corner of the Commonwealth, celebrates Batonbearers who take on challenges and marks the countdown to the biggest sporting event in the West Midlands’ history”.
He added: “We hope communities across the country join the excitement, attend events near them, line the streets to cheer on our incredible Batonbearers and celebrate the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
Dame Louise Martin, Commonwealth Games Federation president, said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay symbolises hope, solidarity and collaboration across the Commonwealth at a time when it is needed most.”
She added the relay “continues to inspire people wherever it goes and creates huge excitement” for the forthcoming sporting showcase.
Nigel Huddleston, minister for the Commonwealth Games, said: “The 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay is coming home.
“Travelling the length and breadth of England, the baton will bring the excitement of the Games to every region of the country.
“The relay marks the final countdown to the biggest sporting event to be held in the UK since London 2012, and I hope people come together and line their streets to celebrate this historic moment.”
Andy Street, West Midlands’ metro mayor, praised the Batonbearers, “each with inspiring backgrounds, who will carry the baton on its journey through England after being put forward as a result of their contribution to their local communities”.
With 78 days to go until the starting pistol sounds on the Games, the baton still has some way to travel yet and is currently in the Caribbean.
For more information on its route visit www.birmingham2022.com/qbr