A MASSIVE community event has been unveiled as Congleton prepares to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay in the run up to the Commonwealth Games.
Thousands are expected at Congleton Park on May 31 as the town celebrates its role in the historic relay with a festival of sport, games, music and family fun. The event is being hosted by Cheshire East Council in partnership with Everybody – a new charitable organisation set up to run the authority’s leisure services.Although it is free, numbers are limited to 10,000 and organisers are advising families to waste no time in applying for tickets.
Head of Leisure and Partnerships Development Geoff Beadle said:
“Two years ago Congleton was a host town for the Olympic Torch Relay. Some 18,000 people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the torch. It was a day which went down in local history. Now the town has been given another opportunity to put itself on the map as a venue for the Queen’s Baton Relay. This is a very special honour for Congleton as the only non-city on the itinerary so we are pulling out all the stops to extend the occasion and make it another great day to remember.”
The English leg of the relay will begin in Manchester on the morning of May 31 before arriving by police escort in Congleton for noon. By then it will have visited 63 of the Commonwealth nations creating an international buzz about the games taking place in Glasgow in July.
A parade of 350 Congleton schoolchildren will follow local baton bearers Jane Whetnall and Ann Brightwell as they make their way round the park to the bandstand where Congleton opera singer Carrie-Ann Williams will sing the national anthem backed by Rode Heath Band. The pair were selected for their dedication to promoting sport in the community. Jane, a co-founder of the Cheshire Academy in Crewe, was honoured with an MBE earlier this year for services to disability sport while Ann, a former Olympic gold medalist, is president of Team Congleton, an organisation which promotes sport and healthy living.
Attractions on the day will include mini-athletics for families, leisure centre taster sessions and artisan market stalls as well as a climbing wall frame for children, face-painting and rugby on the adjoining Hankinsons Field.
“The relay aims to build momentum for the games and inspire more people to take up sport in their locality. As well as being a family event, the community day will allow us to showcase the fantastic leisure facilities on offer in Cheshire East and hopefully encourage more local people to lead a healthy lifestyle.
For more information on the event and how to apply for tickets visit the Queen’s Baton Relay pages.
Notes to Editors
Ann was the first British woman to get a track gold medal when she won the 800m at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. She also holds a Commonwealth silver medal (1962). She lives in Congleton and is a great inspiration to people of all ages. Ann is president and an active member of an organisation called ‘Team Congleton’ which was set up in 2010 to celebrate sport and encourage healthy living in Congleton. Inspired by Ann, the local high school is in the process of raising £3m to build an Ann Packer Community Sports Centre. Ann and her husband Robbie Brightwell (also an Olympic medal holder) are both great ambassadors for sport in our community.
Jane is the co-founder of the Cheshire Academy of Integrated Sports and Arts in Crewe, providing sporting opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and offering support to their families. She is the head coach for the academy and has coached for Team GB at the Special Olympics. She has volunteered for over 20 years, and spends over 80 hours every week helping to train the gymnasts, design costumes and fundraise for squads competing at events. Jane was awarded an MBE in the 2014 New Years Honours list for services to disability sport. Jane is a strong believer in fairness and giving people a chance.
Commonwealth Games England
Commonwealth Games England (CGE) leads and manages the participation of the Team England at the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. We are affiliated to the Commonwealth Games Federation and work closely with the various sports’ National Governing Bodies (NGBs), funding partners such as Sport England, our commercial sponsors and Organising Committees. Our purpose is to help develop athletes and their sports, and to achieve success at Games-time.