A host of celebrities, dignitaries and sports celebrities converged on Newham on Friday for a festival of athletics with Tolgate and Scott Wilkie Primary Schools. The students , rallied by the Royal Docks Cheerleaders competed as different Commonwealth Countries as part of the Queen’s Baton Relay.
Fresh from a dinner the previous evening hosted by Dame Kelly Holmes at the Royal Commonwealth Society the baton first visited the site of the 2012 Olympics Opening ceremony, at the Olympic Stadium, Greenway, for a photocall with English gold and silver medalist javelin thrower Tessa Sanderson. The baton then travelled to Newham Leisure Centre where it received a rousing welcome on the track and was paraded round by athletes of the Newham and Essex Beagles and local school children waving Commonwealth flags. The baton was officially welcomed by Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales, before presiding over a ‘Quadkids’ athletics competition in the indoor athletics centre. Commonwealth and Olympic gold medallist Christine Ohuruogu arrived to a hero’s welcome at 4pm to present the winners their medals and ‘We are England’ t shirts, before the baton travelled with Christine,to Wanstead flats for an evening of celebration and entertainment, ending in a fantastic spectacle of fireworks set to Chariots of Fire.
Saturday is the last day the baton will spend in England and it will visit Twickenham where England face Australia in the first of their Autumn internationals. The England sevens team will parade the baton to the capacity crowd before it is handed to Wales to continue its journey around the Commonwealth en route to the Opening Ceremony of the Games in Delhi on 3 October 2010.