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Afghan War Hero to Join Queen’s Baton Relay in the Boro

By Published May 11, 2022

An Afghan war veteran will join the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay in Middlesbrough ahead of this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

James Rose will carry the ceremonial baton through the town on Thursday, July 14 as the countdown to the Games enters its final fortnight.

The Queen’s Baton Relay brings together and celebrates communities across the Commonwealth during the build-up to 11 days of show-stopping sport.

Throughout May, the Relay will travel through the Caribbean and the Americas, with visits to St Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, Bermuda and Canada, amongst others.

Then from Thursday, June 2 the Baton will spend four days in London, coinciding with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Weekend, before travelling 2,500 miles over the length and breadth of England for 29 days ahead of the Opening Ceremony on July 28.

During its time on Teesside the Relay will visit Saltburn, the Riverside Stadium and Middlesbrough Sports Village, before taking a speedboat along the Tees to the Tees Barrage.

Thousands of Batonbearers, each with inspiring backgrounds and stories, will have the honour of carrying the Baton during the journey through England, including those nominated in recognition of their contributions to their local community, whether that be in sport, education, the arts, culture or charity.

Between 40 and 130 Batonbearers will carry the Baton each day, and the Relay will reach hundreds of villages, towns and cities during its tour of the country. 

Army veteran James Rose from Middlesbrough, who lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2009, was nominated by his wife Naiomi (corr).

The 34-year-old, who competed in wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the 2018 Invictus Games, said: “Naiomi didn’t tell me she’d put me forward, so it came as a bit of a shock.

“I feel quite privileged and honoured to be representing the North East in carrying the Baton, and I’m really looking forward to the Games.”

Naiomi said: “James has overcome adversity, becoming the first double amputee to climb Kilimanjaro unaided, raising over £30k for the charities that have helped him.

“He has overcome many obstacles and continues to inspire and make Teesside proud.”

Members of the public are encouraged to get involved with the celebrations and embrace the arrival of the Baton, taking the opportunity to experience the buzz of Birmingham 2022 in their community.

The Birmingham 2022 website will be updated with information over the coming months, with detail on the events and where to line the route.

Councillor Stephen Hill, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive member for Culture & Communities, said: “There’s a real buzz ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay will only add to the excitement.

“After two years of cancellations and postponements it’s another sure sign that the events we’ve all missed so much are coming back bigger and better than ever.

“The Relay can be assured of the warmest of Teesside welcomes, and James will be a fantastic ambassador for this area as one of our Batonbearers.”

Phil Batty, Director of Ceremonies, Culture & Queen’  s Baton Relay, said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay is far more than just a journey - it symbolises connecting people from every corner of the Commonwealth, celebrates Batonbearers who take on challenges, and marks the countdown the biggest sporting event in West Midlands history.

“And by the time the Baton returns to England for the final leg, 71 nations and territories will have already experienced the magic that comes with it.

“We hope that communities across the country join the excitement, attend events near them, line the streets to cheer on our incredible Batonbearers and celebrate the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”

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