A message of good wishes to the competitors in the tenth British Commonwealth Games is spending on its way to New Zealand where the competitions will be held later this month.
A message of good wishes to the competitors in the tenth British Commonwealth Games is spending on its way to New Zealand where the competitions will be held later this month. The Queen, watched by the Duke of Edinburgh, presented the message, contained in a bated, to three famous athletes on Wednesday (9 January).
A ceremonial gold, silver and jade baton specially designed for the occasion was stolen from New Zealand House in London the previous day, but a replacement baton was found for the presentation ceremony at Sandringham House, the Queen's country residence.
The first runner to carry the baton was Ian Stewart, Scotland's winner of the 5,000 metres in the 1970 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. He was accompanied by Mrs. Pat Ridley, England's winner of the women's 1,500 metres at the same games and Murray Halberg of New Zealand, who won the Commonwealth Games 5,000 metres in both 1958 and 1962, as well as a gold medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics.
At the village of Dersingham, eight miles (13 kilometres) from Sandringham House, the trio handed over the message for the next stage of its journey. A team of Norfolk runners took the baton to the edge of the Royal Estate and the message was taken by car to London airport for the flight to Christchurch in New Zealand. Originally the baton was to have been taken to the airport by 55 relay runners accompanied by slow-moving cars, but the plan was scrapped because of the petrol shortage.
The message will be read at the opening of the games in Christchurch on January 24th by the Queens husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. The Queen will visit the closing stages of the games.