Here is a small selection of images of the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay in Alnwick today.
The Gazette team will be out and about this evening so remember to check back here, on the Northumberland Gazette Facebook page and follow @alnwickgazette on Twitter.
The baton arrived at Alnwick Castle around noon today and the four Batonbearers – Shannon Tyler and Les Welsh, from Blyth, Zac Allin, from Prudhoe, and Paralympian Stephen Miller, from Cramlington – carried it up to meet the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland.
It was welcomed by a crowd of cheering, flag-waving schoolchildren, who have been taking part in a variety of sports, including athletics, netball and Quidditch – inspired by Harry Potter’s links to the Castle.
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 in England to have the honour of receiving the Relay.
Alnwick Castle, by kind permission of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, is hosting a celebration of the baton’s journey later today, marking its passing through Northumberland through to the host nation, Scotland.
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.
For a full round-up of the Queen’s Baton Relay in Alnwick, see next Thursday’s Northumberland Gazette.