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Castle to welcome Queen’s Baton Relay tomorrow

Kath Nisbet, Northumberland County Council Civic Head, Northumberland County Council Leader Grant Davey and Jane, Duchess of Northumberland with the Commonwealth flag in the library at Alnwick Castle.

Kath Nisbet, Northumberland County Council Civic Head, Northumberland County Council Leader Grant Davey and Jane, Duchess of Northumberland with the Commonwealth flag in the library at Alnwick Castle.

The spotlight will be on Alnwick tomorrow as the Queen’s Baton Relay reaches the final stop of its journey across the Commonwealth.

Alnwick Castle, by kind permission of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, is hosting a celebration of the baton’s journey, marking its passing through Northumberland through to the host nation, Scotland.

The Queen’s Baton Relay is the traditional curtain-raiser to the Commonwealth Games, which start on July 23 in Glasgow.

Alnwick is one of less than 20 places within England to have the honour of receiving the Relay and the occasion will be marked with two special events.

During the day, schoolchildren in Years 8 and 9 from across the county will descend on the grounds and Inner Bailey of the Castle to participate in a variety of sporting activities.

Some, like athletics and netball, will be represented at the Glasgow 2014 games, while archery has been a Commonwealth sport in the past and has been chosen to reflect the history of the Castle.

There is also a special nod to the more recent heritage of the Castle as participants try their hand at Quidditch, the wizardly game played by the famous Harry Potter.

The four sporting champions chosen to be Batonbearers for the region – Shannon Tyler and Les Welsh, from Blyth, Zac Allin, from Prudhoe, and Stephen Miller, from Cramlington – will be on hand to offer encouragement and inspiration to the participants.

It is hoped this day of sporting fun will inspire the next generation of Northumbrians to participate in sports and possibly one day represent Team England.

The evening ceremony will take the form of an outdoor staged event in the Outer Bailey of the Castle for an audience of 2,500 people who successfully applied for free tickets online.

A programme of live music, video footage and interviews will be weaved together in a special ceremony marking the presentation of the baton from Commonwealth Games England to the Commonwealth Games Federation, who will then take the baton forward on to its final journey through Scotland.

Prior to the start of the event, there will be an opportunity for guests to view and take a photo of the baton.

The baton contains a special message from the Queen to the Commonwealth, held in place by a commemorative gemstone and kept hidden inside the baton until it is read out at the opening ceremony.

Doors open to ticketholders at 5pm for music from a steel band, Commonwealth-themed food and a chance to see the baton.

The stage show runs from 6pm to 7.30pm with compere Jonathan Miles, from BBC Radio Newcastle.

 

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