Queen’s Baton Relay sets off from Birmingham Airport
The Queen's Baton Relay started its journey across the Commonwealth as it departed from Birmingham Airport on Friday.
Cyprus is the first stop on the 140,000 kilometre relay – which will see the baton visit all 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.
The departure of the baton at Birmingham Airport follows the launch of the 16th official Queen's Baton Relay in a special ceremony on Thursday, where the Queen placed her message to the Commonwealth into the baton.
It will now visit Africa, the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Oceania, before travelling around England during the final days of the relay. The baton will eventually return to Birmingham next summer, before completing its journey at the opening ceremony of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on July 28 next year.
The baton's departure at Birmingham Airport was attended by Birmingham-born Team England netball player Layla Guscoth, who was joined by the official Birmingham 2022 mascot Perry.
Ian Reid, chief executive officer of Birmingham 2022, said: “The official launch of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace was a resounding success.
"Now, it’s time to send the baton onwards as it embarks on a 294-day journey, connecting communities in every corner of the Commonwealth, embracing unique cultures and sharing stories.
“We hope this collective journey will ignite hope, solidarity and collaboration for the next generation, with these stories leaving us all inspired to take on the challenges that matter most. This is such an important milestone in the lead up to the Games and one that we should all carry with pride.”
Team England netball player Layla Guscoth said: “This is such a surreal and proud moment for me as an athlete with strong Birmingham roots. There’s been so much buzz and excitement here in the West Midlands and the start of the Relay has now brought all of this wonderful energy to life.
"The countdown has truly begun, and I can’t wait to see the baton arrive back here in Birmingham in 294 days’ time!”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay is a key milestone on our road to Birmingham 2022, and I know the relay will do a brilliant job of building up excitement around the Commonwealth for next year’s Games.
“As the first global sports events to take place with proper crowds, the eyes of the world will be on the West Midlands in just a matter of months – and I cannot wait for us to show off our home.”
You can follow the baton's journey on the 2022 Commonwealth Games website.