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Queens Baton Relay comes to Sunderland - everything you need to know

13 July, 2022

Queens Baton Relay Active

THE BIRMINGHAM 2022 QUEEN'S BATON RELAY arrives in Sunderland this Thursday 14 July as part of the build up to the Commonwealth Games.

People are being encouraged to line the route as 14 inspirational local Batonbearers, each nominated by their communities, carry The Queen's Baton from the University of Sunderland's St Peter's Campus along the seafront to Cliffe Park.

The Queen's Baton is coming to the city as part of a tour of England on its way to the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on 28 July. This follows an epic journey through 68 Commonwealth countries over 294 days.

The Baton begins its journey through Sunderland at 18.12, setting off from the University of Sunderland's Reg Vardy Centre off St Peter's Way.

It then skirts around the historic 1300-year-old St Peter's Church in Monkwearmouth, part of the Anglo-Saxon Wearmouth-Jarrow Monastery which was once home to the Venerable Bede before passing the National Glass Centre.

From there, The Baton is due to head down to Harbour View and along Sunderland's stunning seafront with its award winning blue flag beaches before taking pride of place at an end of day celebration event in Cliff Park with its beautiful white lighthouse. It is due to arrive there at 18.45 and be present until 19.15.

The Active Sunderland Summer Family Fun session at Cliffe Park, which is on from 17.30 until 19.30, is open to all with lots of free fun activities for families to join in. Active Sunderland will be joined by partners including British Triathlon with their activation zone, North East Sports, Everyone Active and AAA sports who will help deliver soft tennis, football and penalty shoot outs, time trial athletics, gymnastics and cheerleading, CrossFit and weightlifting and much more.  Local schools will also be taking part in a baton relay and netball competition.

The 14 Batonbearers chosen to carry the baton as it makes its half hour journey through Sunderland, include:

Sunderland hairdresser Nicola Wood, who expanded her services and expertise into the wig industry after her treatment for cancer led to her own body image concerns. She has since become a pioneer for hair-loss, supporting over 10, 000 clients and young people battling with hair loss. She has also won several awards, raised many thousands for charities and become an ambassador for the industry as well as being described as a 'true inspiration'. 

Nicola said: "I feel so very honoured to be taking part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It is very humbling moment in my life to be able to represent both the hair loss community and the Queen in my hometown! My journey with the baton will be truly symbolic of women's medical hair loss journeys and a reminder that no one needs to do it alone. Myself and the Wonderful Wig Company are here to support fellow women every step of the way."

"It's an honour to have the work of the Wonderful Wig Company recognised and held in such high regard. I would like to use this opportunity to speak directly to anyone experiencing medical hair loss or alopecia themselves: you are not alone and we stand with you. We are here to help and guide you on your journey, we're in it together."

Emma Burrow, Pronounced terminal when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma for the 4th time. Emma unbelievably went into remission almost seven years ago after being given a stem cell transplant from a Portuguese donor and palliative chemo to assist her terminal condition and following chemo as part of palliative care. A side effect of her condition has resulted in Emma having to have both hips, a knee, an elbow and both shoulders replaced. She works for the NHS in research and volunteers for the Anthony Nolan Trust. She also managed to complete the Great North Run in 2019 with her best friend, raising more than £4000 for Anthony Nolan.

Emma said: "I am incredibly proud to have been nominated and accepted to be a baton bearer. I've had a very difficult and complex cancer journey and to have the privilege of taking part in this event really does show how far I have come. I will enjoy every second of it!"

John Savage from Sunderland, nominated as 'an inspirational leader in the NHS' who as head of nursing has 'led the nursing workforce under extremely difficult situations over the last 2 years and positively challenged them to achieve the best patient care'. The nomination went on to describe John as someone who 'motivates and enthuses drive and determination in people to uphold care and compassion'. John was previously commended by the chief nursing officer for his 'continued and exceptional work for people with learning disabilities and his care and compassion.'

John said: "To even just be nominated and recognised felt really special. It was such a boost knowing that somebody thinks so highly of me and to put me forward for such a prestigious role."

Christine Ritchie, who as service manager for the Salvation Army's Swan Lodge Lifehouse in Sunderland looks after more than 65 homeless adults, making a positive impact daily as she strives to make sure that Swan Lodge is a family not just a workplace. The nomination described her as 'an extraordinary asset to the Salvation Army' who is 'selfless and always goes the extra mile' and 'encourages everyone to be the best version of themselves'.

She said: "I am delighted to be taking part in this historic event and was completely taken aback by being nominated and chosen for the event.  I am very proud to represent Swan Lodge Salvation Army and will be doing this for my lads and lasses and staff at Swan Lodge."

Melanie Nichols, described as a 'super star' who 'kept us all going during the lockdowns with food and activity packs and runs sessions 4 times a week for carers and their kids' by the person who nominated her. As well as bringing up her four grandchildren from being tiny, amazingly Melanie also managed to find the time to set up and run a support group for other kinship carers and more recently has set up a charity 'More than Grandparents' which supports around 300 kinship carers and their families in the north east. This runs regular peer support and kids clubs among others things from its base in Atheneum Street, Sunderland.

Melanie said: "I was really ecstatic when I heard I'd been chosen to be a Batonbearer but really humbled too. It means all the more to me because it was my kinship carers who nominated me and I'm really looking forward to it."

Katie Williamson, from Washington, who despite being autistic, having epilepsy and a rare neurological disorder Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH) which causes vision problems and migraines, volunteers at her local BHF charity shop. She also runs the online shop for a charity for people with IIH and volunteers for the Riding for the Disabled Association, helping coaches administer pony care days for other disabled riders.  Her nomination said: 'Katie never ceases to amaze me with her tenacity to live her life to the full.'

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "It's incredibly moving to read the stories of the Batonbearers, the challenges they have overcome and the brilliant contribution they continue to make to their communities. Each has been chosen because of their own inspirational story and background, and the contribution they have made to their local community.

"The Queen's Baton Relay is a brilliant opportunity to recognise and thank these truly inspirational people for the amazing things they have done and continue to do, and I'd encourage everyone to come along and line the route of the Baton Relay from the University of Sunderland's St Peter's Campus to Cliffe Park from 18.12 this Thursday to cheer on the Batonbearers as they carry the Baton along our beautiful seafront.

"It's also an opportunity to experience some of the buzz and excitement around the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and enjoy all the activities on offer at the fabulous free celebration event at Cliffe Park." 

With the hot weather set to continue the rest of this week, people planning to come along to watch the Baton Relay and attend the Cliffe Park event are being advised to stay safe in the sun by remembering to apply sun cream, wear a hat and light coloured clothing, drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated and stay in the shade at times to avoid overheating.

A number of road closures will be in place along the route between 17.30 and 19.00 to allow the Queens Baton Relay to travel safely through Sunderland.  For further information visit: one.network

Parking bays on Harbour View and Dame Dorothy will be temporarily suspended during the relay but will reopen as soon as the traffic management has been removed and the road re-opens.  Signage will be in place advising motorists of this with the bays coned off on the day.

Marine Walk and Harbour View car parks will remain open, however motorists are being advised that they won't be able to exit these while the road closures are in place. All roads will be re-opened as soon as is practicably possible. Alternative parking areas in Seaburn will remain open throughout the event.

For the latest on the Queen's Baton Relay coming to Sunderland, visitBirmingham 2022 Queen's Baton Relay - MySunderland

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