Games on for baton runners

Bo'ness Academy; Lewis Finlay (L) and Andrew Wright (R) who have been chosen as baton bearers.
Bo'ness Academy; Lewis Finlay (L) and Andrew Wright (R) who have been chosen as baton bearers.

Linlithgow, Bo’ness and South Queensferry will be well represented in the Commonwealth Games Queen’s baton relay.

Queensferry High School, Bo’ness Academy and Linlithgow Academy all have runners who have been chosen to ensure the baton containing a specially written message from Her Majesty is passed from person to person until it reaches its final destination, Celtic Park, for the opening ceremony in Glasgow on July 23.

Linlithgow Academy Commonwealth Games baton bearer; Andrew Mitchell

Linlithgow Academy Commonwealth Games baton bearer; Andrew Mitchell

Andrew Mitchell (17), a sixth year student at Linlithgow Academy was chosen by his peers to represent the school in recognition of his achievements as a runner with Livingston Athletics Club and the school’s running club which he set up.

Andrew said: “I am delighted to have been selected for this very special event and look forward to taking part on the day.”

At Bo’ness Academy, three pupils have been chosen.

Andrew Wright (S2), was nominated by his teachers in recognition of his achievements in ice hockey.

The 13-year-old became hooked on the sport after his dad Alain took him to a game.

He has now been playing for eight years, first as an outfield player but now as a goalie for Dundee. He has also played for Scotland’s Under 13s and has travelled to Paris to play.

Andrew said: “My biggest goal is to go to Canada and play in one of the big leagues there.

“I was really excited when I heard I had been chosen and ecstatic that I have the honour of being able to carry the baton.”

Also chosen are Lewis Findlay (S6), who was nominated by St Andrew’s Church for his voluntary work, and young footballer Chloe MacDonald.

First year pupil Chloe was nominated by her former primary school, St Mary’s, for her work on coaching the school’s football team, as well as by her own team Central Girls’ Football Academy.

Baton carriers from Linlithgow include Matthew Ball, (45), of West Lothian Clarion Cycling Club. Mathew was nominated in recognition of his tireless work in promoting cycling.

Matthew, was a driving force behind the creation of West Lothian Clarion in 2008 and its youth section in 2010. Both have been hugely successful and, with a total membership in excess of 250, the club is one of the largest in the National Clarion.

David Paterson (44), was nominated for his charity work in the Burgh by a number of people including the Marie Curie shop in Linlithgow.

He said: “I am extremely proud to be chosen and only wish my late brother Jock could have been here to see this. I’d like to thank everyone who nominated me, I’m very grateful to them.”

Nicola Welsh from SANDS West Lothian was nominated for her work with bereaved families and for setting up the West Lothian branch of the Stillbirth and Neo-natal Death Society.

She told us: “It is a huge honour to be nominated to carry the baton in West Lothian for the Commonwealth. I am extremely touched by the bereaved parent Cathie Smyth from Blackness who nominated me.

It is a privilege to support bereaved families and help them at the worst of times. I will carry the baton in memory of my own baby, Theo, and all the babies and children who are loved and missed everyday.

In Queensferry, as far as we are aware, there is just one baton-bearer, Ben Grant, a third year pupil at Queensferry High School.

Ben was nominated by his guidance teacher, Susan Lamb, for his volunteering work and athletic prowess.

The 14-year-old not only assists with the Junior Scouts in Queensferry but also coaches rugby to local primary schoolchilden.

A keen athlete, he is a member of Pitreavie AAC where he is the current under 15 300 metres champion. Ben also took third place in the 200 metres at the Scottish Schools National Championships at Grangemouth in 2013.

He said of his nomination: ‘‘I am very excited about being nominated as a baton-bearer. It will be an honour to take part and represent Queensferry.’’