Pupils from two Falkirk primary schools gave the Queen’s Commonwealth Games Baton a noisy welcome at the Kelpies.
The baton relay hit Falkirk on its Scottish tour last Friday at the iconic landmark and hundreds of children from St Francis Xavier and Victoria Primary Schools were there to cheer it on its way to the Gold Coast in Australia for the 2018 Games.
Each school had six baton-bearers who helped the McIntosh sisters – Jennifer and Seonaid, Scotland’s European champions in small bore rifle shooting – carry it round the sculptures to give everyone a glimpse and have pictures taken with it.
Despite the heavy rain, all the pupils remained enthusiastic and had a ball, doing their schools proud.
The baton bearers were Kai Skinner, Rachel Campbell (P5), Anika Zub, Kelvin Paxton (P6), Louisa Kane and Cayden Campbell (P7) from St Francis Xavier along with Kaiden Taylor, Kian Zandbergen (P5), Ava Malarkey, Luke Graham (P6), Adam McAleer and Sophie Sutherland (P7) from Victoria.
During the visit, Jennifer, who is Team Scotland’s most decorated female athlete of all time, spoke to a sports fan who met her at the Rio Olympics last year and gave her a Caramel Log as a “taste of home” 5000 miles away.
Jennifer said on the day: “It is such an honour to carry the baton through Falkirk. The welcome here was absolutely fantastic from all the kids.
“Despite the weather it’s been a great experience. We’re looking forward to Gold Coast 2018 and hope Team Scotland do really well.”
The Queen’s Baton carries a message from the Queen which calls the Commonwealth’s athletes to come together in peaceful and friendly competition.
The baton was also at the Scottish Athletics Senior Championships at Grangemouth Stadium on Saturday, a ranking event for Team Scotland selection for the 2018 Games, where a number of top athletes joined youngsters from Falkirk Victoria Harriers on a lap of the track.
The baton for each Games is designed by the host nation and the 2018 Queen’s Baton has a distinctive loop design and has been made using macadamia wood and reclaimed plastic, sourced from Gold Coast waterways and inspired by the region’s vibrant spirit and indigenous heritage.
Paul Finnie, sport and recreation manager at Falkirk Commmunity Trust, said “We’re delighted to welcome the Queen’s Baton relay to Grangemouth Stadium and The Helix.
“We are so very proud of the athletes and future Olypmpians who are training and developing in the Falkirk area and look forward to cheering on Team Scotland in 2018.”