The Queen’s Baton today arrived in England, as part of its tour of the Commonwealth nations ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The Baton entered the country by aeroplane on the morning of Wednesday 16 August, when it was parachuted into RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, before being formally received by Commonwealth Games England Chairman Ian Metcalfe and Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin.  

This was the first stop on the Baton’s tour of England on its journey through all Commonwealth nations ahead of the Opening Ceremony on 4 April 2018.

Commonwealth Games England Chairman Ian Metcalfe said:

“We are delighted to have welcomed the Queen’s Baton Relay to England in quite some style. We will now embark on an exciting few days taking the Baton across England, as we look ahead to a wonderful Commonwealth Games next year in Australia.”

Louise Martin, President Commonwealth Games Federation said:

“What a way to bring the Baton back into England again, after it left Buckingham Palace in March, and now to bring it back in with the parachute team here at RAF Brize Norton is unbelievable. I am still tingling just having watched it, it was fantastic. What a great start to the Baton coming to England.

“The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will be completely different to any other Games, because of the shape, area and where we are, but the amount of work and effort going into the Games is second to none. Every Games learns from the Games before, and Glasgow was an exceptional Games, just as this will be.”

Sqn Leader Ruairidh Jackson, 35, said:

“It’s been amazing to have been able to arrive with the Baton at RAF Brize Norton, and an honour to be involved. It’s a massive honour to be a part of this, a real once in a life-time opportunity.”

The Queen’s Baton Relay is a Commonwealth Games tradition that celebrates the Commonwealth’s diversity, inspires community pride and excites people about the world-class festival of sports and culture to come.

The Queen’s Baton carries a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II that calls for athletes to come together in peaceful and friendly competition.

Following its arrival at RAF Brize Norton, the Baton travels to London to be welcomed by a number of athletes such as Commonwealth and Olympic champion Max Whitlock at the London Guildhall Gallery and Amphitheatre.

On Thursday 17 August, the Queen’s Baton Relay will continue its tour of England by visiting Stoke Mandeville Stadium for an open sports day led by swimming star Ollie Hynd, before heading to the Lawn Bowls National Championships in Leamington Spa.

Friday 18 August will see the Baton heading to Manchester, stopping at Old Trafford Cricket Stadium for the Lancashire Lightning V Birmingham Bears T20 Blast fixture.

On Saturday 19 August and Sunday 20 August, the Baton will be visiting England’s 2022 Commonwealth Games prospective bid cities Liverpool and Birmingham.

The baton will then be handed over to Scotland on Tuesday 21 August.