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Commonwealth Games baton to come to Herne Bay

Dame Kelly Holmes
PASSION: Dame Kelly Holmes takes the Olympic Torch on an open-top bus tour in 2012
HUNDREDS of schoolchildren will be able to see history in the making when the Commonwealth Games baton comes to Kent.

Olympian and Commonwealth Games England president Dame Kelly Holmes will bring the baton to Herne Bay High School on June 5 as part of its journey around the county.

The baton is making its way to Glasgow for the Games and stopping off en route to encourage people to get behind the athletes and show their support.

Among pupils invited to take part in the celebrations are youngsters at Briary School, which will close for a time so that all children and staff can attend. All the children will be able to see the baton arrive and some will also be able to stay for a ceremony in the Bay Arena.

A team of five baton bearers have also been chosen, including Paralympic skier Millie Knight, from Canterbury. The 15-year-old, who is visually impaired and relies on a guide, carried the flag at the opening ceremony of the Winter Paralympics. Dame Kelly said:

Our England baton bearers are going to play a crucial part when the Queen’s Baton Relay arrives in England on May 31. They have all been selected due to their passion for sport and the way in which they share this with their communities and look to get people involved and active.

I’m encouraging everyone in Kent to get involved when the Queen’s Baton Relay comes to your city – find out what event is taking place and if you can be there then please go and cheer on your baton bearers and be part of the Team England send-off to Glasgow.

The baton will tour Kent, visiting Tonbridge Castle, Dartford, Folkestone and Maidstone during the day and a host of activities for up to 3,300 schoolchildren have been arranged. The event at Tonbridge Castle is open to the public but the rest are for schools only. Mike Hill, Kent County Council cabinet member with responsibility for Olympic Legacy, said:

Kent is delighted to welcome the baton on June 5. We have worked very closely with our schools to ensure as many pupils as possible can be involved in this very special day.

The baton arrived in the British Isles last weekend after visiting 63 of 70 Commonwealth nations and territories. It has been paraded by elephants in Sri Lanka, sniffed by giant tortoises in the Seycelles and was honoured with a national holiday in the island nation of Nauru. It has spent a total of five days flying, and has also travelled on a 19th century steam train, motorised tricycle, an outrigger canoe and helicopters.

The final stage of the journey will be a 40-day relay through 400 communities in Scotland before it arrives in Glasgow for the opening ceremony on July 23. At the ceremony, a message placed in the baton by the Queen will be read out. The Commonwealth Games will continue until August 3 and Commonwealth Games England will compete in 17 sports.

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