The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Sunday, 29 June 2014

South Ayrshire shone for Queen’s Baton relay

The sun was shining and a fabulous day was had by all as South Ayrshire came out in force to support the Queen’s Baton Relay and cheer on 107 inspirational batonbearers on Friday 20 June. 

[Pictured: The Queen's Baton in Maybole.]

Starting in Ballantrae, the baton was welcomed to the sound of the bagpipes, played by piper Ian Fisher from the South Ayrshire Schools Pipe Band. It then got its first glimpse of the Ailsa Craig – from where the granite for the baton’s ‘gemstone’ was sourced – as seven batonbearers carried the baton through the village. To cheers and applause, the baton received a very warm welcome and ensured a successful start to the day.

It then moved on to Girvan where people lined the streets as the baton visited the first of the South Ayrshire towns on the relay route. Girvan provided a great opportunity for some iconic images of the baton with Ailsa Craig in the background and 13 batonbearers were carried along by the hugely supportive crowd.

Before leaving the town, the baton visited Girvan Community Hospital where it was welcomed to the sounds of the South Ayrshire Percussion Ensemble. The baton passed through the Rehabilitation Suite, where staff from the Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy teams led activities with primary 5 school children interacting with patients. It also saw pupils from Girvan Academy taking part in touch rugby, while Commonwealth Games mascot Clyde paid a surprise visit to the hospital to see the baton.

In Maybole, the baton started out with a private visit to Carrick Academy before being carried out of the school by pupil, batonbearer and world record racerunner, Kayleigh Haggo. Kayleigh was cheered on by hundreds of pupils as she got the baton relay underway in the town, where it was carried by a total of 11 batonbearers.

The baton then headed to Alloway where it was given a rapturous welcome by pupils and staff as it passed by Alloway Primary. Carried by a total of 11 batonbearers, the relay paused at Burns Cottage to pay its respects to the Bard before making its way in to Rozelle Park where around 300 pupils from South Ayrshire primaries participated in an Active Schools event, funded by EventScotland’s Legacy programme.

The final batonbearer at Rozelle was Scottish actress Katrina Bryan who is well known for playing Nina in the hit CBeebies series Nina and the Neurons. Other TV appearances include a recurring role in Taggart, Sea of Souls and Ancient Greece. Her theatre credits include My Romantic History and Death of a Salesman. Katrina took the baton on to the stage where it was welcomed by South Ayrshire Provost, Helen Moonie and Chief Executive of South Ayrshire Council, Eileen Howat. Clyde made another appearance at Rozelle where he proved to be a huge hit with the kids.

After a lunch visit to Queen Margaret Academy, the baton relay continued through four small villages, which were all packed with people eager to take part in such an exciting day – Mossblown, Tarbolton, Symington and Dundonald. Clyde made an impromptu stop in Mossblown, much to the delight of the gathered crowds.

The baton relay then moved into its longest stretch in South Ayrshire with 18 batonbearers carrying the baton through Troon, where crowds packed the streets and created a real buzz as the baton relay came to town.

The relay then stopped in briefly at Prestwick Airport where it was welcomed by airport staff and representatives from the aerospace and engineering industries before heading into Prestwick town centre.

Another long stretch for the relay, 17 batonbearers proudly carried the baton through Prestwick to the cheers and applause of local people and visitors, who made sure the Commonwealth spirit was going strong.

The final stretch of the relay took place in Ayr, where the baton was carried by the recently unveiled and newly-refurbished ‘pink buildings’ to the sound of bagpipes. It then made its way to Low Green where it was greeted by thousands of people for the Queen’s Baton Relay Celebration Event.

Featuring live music and entertainment, sports and activities, arts and circus workshops, the celebration event offered something for everyone – including the chance to see the final leg of the baton relay. The nine batonbearers in Ayr included former Scotland football manager, Craig Brown CBE as well as Olympian, Commonwealth athlete and European gold medallist, Brian Whittle.

The evening was rounded off with a very special performance on the live music stage from Braehead Primary’s primary 6 class who came runners-up in Creative Scotland’s Big Big Sing project. The primary six pupils wrote and recorded their song, ‘The Cheer Starts Here’, with the help of University of the West of Scotland colleagues and Songwriting and Performance students as part of the University’s Digital Commonwealth project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie said: “What an amazing day the Queen’s Baton Relay had in South Ayrshire and a great big thank you to everyone who came out to show their support. From our smallest villages to our largest towns, South Ayrshire did itself proud and there was a festive atmosphere throughout the entire baton relay route, which was completely down to our people and communities who embraced the event wholeheartedly.

“It’s certainly one of the biggest events I’ve ever been involved in as Provost and it was a privilege to be part of the reception for the baton and our batonbearers. I wish the relay the very best of luck as it continues throughout Scotland and look forward to hearing Her Majesty The Queen's message to the Commonwealth – which is being carried within the baton – when it is read out at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on 23 July.”

Councillor Bill Grant, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, Tourism and Leisure, added: “The Queen’s Baton Relay was a fabulous day for South Ayrshire. From Ballantrae in the south to Barassie in the north – and through our towns and villages in between – the support from our residents and visitors was just incredible.

“My thanks to every single person who came out to cheer on the baton and help make this such a wonderful day for everyone involved. It was a very special day for a very special baton, and it certainly got a very special welcome here in South Ayrshire.”

A selection of photographs taken at this event can be viewed on the South Ayrshire Council website. CLICK HERE 

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

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