What a great opportunity to showcase our region and celebrate the achievers in our local community.
When the eyes of the Commonwealth will be directly focused on us and communities like ours across the nation.
The Queen’s Baton Relay in the lead up to next year’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast presents us with a unique opportunity.
The symbol of the games arrives in Australia on Christmas Eve – after passing through every Commonwealth Nation – and will be carried by about 3,800 batonbearers through every state and territory.
They will make their way through our region in Gunnedah, Tamworth, Armidale and Coonabarabran before the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on April 4, 2018.
Gunnedah will be in the spotlight on January 31 with 27 community members chosen to carry the baton.
For them it was a great honour to even be nominated, some say they’re humbled, others overwhelmed by the honour, bestowed upon them after anonymous nominations.
Locally they include not only sporting heroes, but community champions. The list includes Richard Barry, Noreen Bohem, Sarah-Jane Bonner, Stacey Chisholm, Ronald Clissold, Alisha Conomos, Richard Day, Kathryn Day-McGuirk, Michelle Dunlop, Ray Godkin, Christine Hodges, Wade Hudson, Kate Jenner, Leslie Knox, Josie Luckel, Zara Mannion, Gregory Piggott, Lauren Robertson, Isabella Sawyer, Michael Silver, Ken Thompson and Laiken Watts.
The baton bearer’s list also includes Margaret Amos – who’s described as “an inspiring cultural contributor and a staunch Gunnedah-loyalist”, and Francis Crump who works tirelessly for the homeless.
There are the quiet achievers, or the community members who go above and beyond, like Marie Hobson and Ron McLean, who ensure our community stands strong.
Sara Carrigan was the golden girl for Australia when she won the women’s cycling individual road race at the 2004 summer Olympics, and Kate Jenner knows the Olympic pursuit on the hockey field, while Peter Loveridge has had success in his sporting adventures like the Ironman.
So, as you can see, the Queen’s Baton Relay is more than just a year-long lead in to a great sporting event, it’s due recognition for some of our hardest working community members.