Birmingham is to host the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay this year, with a journey which brings together and celebrates communities across the Commonwealth during the build up to the Commonwealth Games.
Travelling via land, air and sea, more than 180 communities in England will experience the Queen’s Baton on a route spanning 2,500 miles over a total of 29 days, ahead of the opening ceremony for Birmingham 2022 on July 28.
Between 40 and 130 Batonbearers will carry the Baton each day, and it will tour the North East of England on July 14 and July 15.
13 pictures as Sunderland fans celebrate promotion in the city centre
13 of your fan pictures ahead of Sunderland's League One play-off final at Wembley
Tributes paid to ‘massive’ Sunderland fan Tony Staplin after tragic death in County Durham crash
13 fantastic pictures from the STACK at Seaburn as Sunderland clinch play-off final win
Uncertainty over future and ownership of former Sunderland Travelodge in High Street West
On Thursday, July 14 the Baton will travel through Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Redcar, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Durham, Seaham, and Sunderland.
And on Friday, July 15 the Baton will then visit South Shields, Whitley Bay, Blyth, Alnwick, Gateshead, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Highlights across the two days will see the Baton travel by speedboat in Stockton on Tees, visit skateboarders in Whitley Bay, be abseiled from a wind turbine in the Port of Blyth, as well as visiting the Angel of the North.
During its visit to Sunderland, the Queen’s Baton Relay will skirt around the historic 1,300-year-old St Peter’s Church, in Monkwearmouth, part of the Anglo-Saxon Wearmouth-Jarrow Monastery that was once home to the Venerable Bede.
It will then head along Sunderland’s seafront, with its award-winning blue-flag beaches, before ending the day at a celebration event at Cliffe Park, with its beautiful white lighthouse.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We are very much looking forward to hosting the relay and the inspirational community Batonbearers taking part in its journey through our city on Thursday 14 July. I hope people will turn out in force to give it a warm Sunderland welcome.
“It’s also a brilliant opportunity to showcase Sunderland, from its start near the historic St Peter’s, which is one of the oldest churches in the country, to our glorious seafront and award-winning beaches and the event in Cliffe Park with its stunning white lighthouse.”
One of the Batonbearers this year will be 12-year-old Tom Richardson, from County Durham, who was nominated following his creation of a Book Buddies scheme during coronavirus lockdown, which saw him collect 5,000 book donations from people before distributing to local schools.
Durham School pupil Tom, who also helps coach tennis to young children and the blind, said: “It’s such an honour to be chosen as a Batonbearer. I couldn’t believe it when my mum told me the news but I’m more excited than anything else.”
It is hoped that members of the public are encouraged to get involved with the celebrations and “embrace the arrival of the Baton”, taking the opportunity to experience “the buzz” of Birmingham 2022 in their community.
Phil Batty, director of the Queen’s Baton Relay, said: “We hope that 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.”