Queen's Baton Relay arrives in Southampton to mark celebrations

Daily Echo: Iwan Thomas with the Queen's Baton at Queenn Elizabeth in Southampton Iwan Thomas with the Queen's Baton at Queenn Elizabeth in Southampton

THE Queen's Baton Relay has arrived in Southampton as part of its tour across the country ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

The celebrations began at 8am when gold medal-winning athlete Iwan Thomas and Southampton Park Run founder James Saunders present it to the crew of the Queen Elizabeth.

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Gold medallist Iwan Thomas presented the baton to the crew of the Queen Elizabeth before he handed it over to Southampton park run organiser James Saunders.

Crew on board the ship cheered as Iwan paraded the Queen's Baton on board the vessel.

For both Iwan and James it was a "really proud" moment for them as they brought the baton on board the ship at dock gate 10.

On the bridge of the cruise ship both Iwan and James spoke of their pleasure at being selected to be part of the baton relay.

Iwan said: "I have been part of the baton relay for Southampton for a few weeks now. It's a great honour. I've made Southampton my home and it's a real honour for me."

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James Saunders said: "A lot of people are inspired by the baton relay. To have it here in Southampton on such an iconic ship is great. I have spent so many hours brining Park Run to Southampton, it's a great recognition for what we do."

Daily Echo: Outgoing mayor Cllr Ivan White with Nick Chmarny and the baton.

From the ship it will travel to Southampton Guildhall at 11am where rowing coach Nick Chmarny of Coalporters ARC will present it at the annual Mayor Making ceremony.

Its next destination is at Southampton Outdoor Sports Centre where 600 children are gathering for a mass youth sporting extravaganza at 1.50pm with baton bearers Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell, netball coach Chris Grainger and wheelchair rugby star Richard Cartwright.

The climax of the day will be back at Guildhall Square at 5pm when Southampton and Team GB diving manager Annie Clewlow carries it onstage before a diving spectacular is carried out at 6.30pm.

Southampton is one of only 16 locations hosting the baton on its UK tour ahead of the Games, which take place in Glasgow on July 23.

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