Proud day carrying Queen's Baton

The Oxford Times: Ian Warland, Simon Price, Juliet Field and Johnny Pemberton Buy this photo Ian Warland, Simon Price, Juliet Field and Johnny Pemberton

AN AS-Level student raced from his PE exam to carry the Queen’s Baton through an Oxford park.

Simon Price, 16, was one of four people nominated to take part in yesterday’s sporting celebration ahead of this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

The teenager, of Henwood, near Abingdon, was cheered on by more than 500 children as the Queen’s Baton Relay arrived at Cutteslowe and Sunnymead Park.

Simon, a Matthew Arnold School pupil, was nominated to take part in the worldwide relay for his volunteer work at Kidlington Forum Table Tennis Club.

He said: “I had a PE exam, which went really well. It’s a day I’ll never forget. I am just amazed. It was a really incredible day.

“The kids were really enthusiastic and couldn’t wait to touch the baton. I can’t wait to watch the Games now, especially when I have been really involved with it.”

Children from Wolvercote, St Aloysius, Cutteslowe and St Barnabas primary schools flanked the fields and waited with bated breath for the baton to arrive at 1pm.

It was led by a samba band from Larkrise Primary School.

Ian Warland, from Headington, also got to carry the baton through the park.

The 50-year-old, who runs the junior section at Oxford City Athletic Club, said: “The day has gone really quick. The kids were really excited.”

Fellow baton-bearer Juliet Field, 67, said the day had been “absolutely brilliant”.

The mother-of-three has supported Cherwell Gymnastics Club for 30 years and started coaching when her daughter Hazel Walsh joined the club.

Johnny Pemberton, 33, from Oxford, was nominated to carry the baton for his volunteering work with the table tennis initiative Ping! Oxford.

He said: “It was amazing to be part of the day.”

England Badminton stars Heather Olver, 28, and Kate Robertshaw, 23, accompanied the baton to Cutteslowe Park.

Ten-year-old friends Ellie Parris, Elanor Reid and Chloe Brain, nine, were part of the welcoming party from Cutteslowe School.

Elanor said: “It was really fun and everyone was really excited. It has encouraged me to get involved in the fencing club.”

After the baton relay, the Cutteslowe Summer Festival was officially opened by Deputy Lord Mayor Tony Brett and hundreds of residents joined in with free sporting activities and a zumba-thon in North Oxford.

The Queen’s Baton Relay has passed through 63 out of 70 Commonwealth countries ahead of this summer’s games in Glasgow from July 23 to August 3.

 

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