Meet two of the inspiring women set to represent Sunderland as the Queen's Baton relay builds up to the Commonwealth Games

Two inspiring Sunderland women have spoken of their pride as they prepare to take part in the Queen’s Baton relay as part of the build up to the Commonwealth Games.

Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 12:25 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th July 2022, 12:26 pm

The Baton will begin its journey through Sunderland at 6.12pm on Thursday (July 14), setting off from the University of Sunderland's Reg Vardy Centre.

It will then head to St Peter's Church, in Monkwearmouth, before passing the National Glass Centre, heading down to Harbour View and along Sunderland's seafront and ending at a celebration event in Cliff Park between 6.45pm - 7.15pm.

Two people carrying the baton to represent Sunderland are Christine Ritchie, service manager for the Salvation Army's Swan Lodge Lifehouse, who will carrying the baton from Harbour View to Terrace Guest; and Emma Burrow, a cancer survivor who defied a terminal diagnosis and will be taking charge of the final stretch to Cliffe Park.

Christine Ritchie (left) and Emma Burrow will be representing Sunderland in the Queen's baton relay.

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Christine Ritchie, 66, originally from Aberdeenshire, moved to Sunderland 28 years ago and has been service manager at Swan Lodge for 16 years, looking after more than 65 homeless adults and making a positive impact on their lives.

Christine said: “When I opened the email I honestly thought someone was taking the mic! I was absolutely delighted to be nominated.

"I absolutely love my job, working at Swan Lodge is just a joy. The way I’m looking at it, carrying the baton isn’t about me, but is a huge opportunity for Swan Lodge and also the Salvation Army in Sunderland.

Christine Ritchie says she will be representing the 'lads and lasses' at Swan Lodge during the relay

"I’m so honoured to be representing the lads and lasses at Swan Lodge and I’ll be doing it for them.”

Emma Burrow, 37, lives in the Pallion area and despite being diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma 12 years and being told the cancer was terminal, defied her diagnosis and overcame the illness.

Emma went into remission after undergoing a stem cell transplant, but a side effect of this meant she had to have both hips, a knee, an elbow and both shoulders replaced.

She said: “I was shocked when I found out I’d be carrying the baton because I didn’t know my family had nominated me, so it was a real surprise but I’m so excited because it’s an amazing opportunity.

Emma Burrow overcame a terminal diagnosis.

"I’m excited but I am nervous thinking of everyone looking at me, but it’s an absolute honour.”

Emma during her cancer treatment.