The Queen’s Baton Relay in Anguilla 2014
We welcomed the Queen’s Baton to our shores on Sunday, 30 March, 2014, in great anticipation of a fun filled two day event. To greet the baton and its team were Chief Minister Hubert Hughes, the Governor Christina Scott, Ministers of Government Jerome Roberts and Evan Gumbs, the board members of the Anguilla Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) and various representatives from the media.
After a welcome speech given by the attending dignitaries and a press conference, the team made their way to the Anacaona Boutique Hotel in a stretched limousine laid on by the ACGA.
The first day of the relay began around 8.30am on Monday, 31 March, at Sir Emile Gumbs’ residence in Sandy Ground, where Rev. Wycherley Gumbs said a prayer and then the baton was walked to the wharf by Eddie Baird, the elected member for Sandy Ground, accompanied by Emile Gumbs and his wife, Governor Christina Scott and the ACGA Board Members.
The team boarded the Lady Celestia motor boat owned by Curt Harris and began the epic journey of relaying the baton.
The first stop was Little Bay where photos of Remoy Rey (the boat crew member) were taken standing on the bow of the boat holding the baton up with the caves in the background.
We then went on to Shoal Bay East where Alex (Breed) and his donkey were waiting to ride with the baton on the beautiful beach, and when the donkey decided it had enough Gerard and his crew from De Storm Sail Boat took over and relayed the baton by sea to Island Harbour where various dignitaries were waiting, along with the pre-school children from the local nursery school to help the baton on its way.
That day the baton traversed to the Vivian Vanterpool Primary school in Island Harbour by foot and wheelchair, and was greeted with cheers and screeching, the teachers making more noise than the children, then Sherwin Osborne, one of the Glasgow 2014 long listed cyclist, rode the baton to the Heritage Museum where it was met by Colville Petty and two students from the nearby Morris Vanterpool Primary School, who relayed it to their school where it was greeted with shouts of excitement.
Sherwin then rode the baton to the residence of Ronald Webster, the leader of the Anguillian Revolution, who sat proudly holding the baton with his wife in attendance.
The baton was then sped away by motorcar to the James Ronald Webster Park to be relayed by the different schools having their sporting events that day.
After a quick lunch break we headed to the Dolphin Discovery to be delighted with the antics of the dolphins interacting with the baton, then headed back to sea to complete the journey for day one stopping at Rendezvous Bay, visiting the Great House Hotel, CuisinArt Hotel and the Dune Preserve, where the staff of the hotels and restaurants relayed the baton along the beach.
At Maunday’s Bay, Zambezi and his horse were waiting to take over as well as two members of staff from the Cap Juluca Hotel.
At Meads Bay a member of staff from each restaurant and hotel also relayed the baton along the beach, and finally the baton boarded the Lady Celestia to head back to Sandy Ground to end the day followed by a fleet of sail boats from the junior sailing club.
That evening the team was invited to a reception at the Governor’s residence and was entertained by the Mayomba Folklore Group.
Day two started at the Anacaona Boutique Hotel with the Gumbs twins running the baton to the Viceroy Hotel where Justin Hodge and Danny Laud, 2014 Glasgow long listed cyclist, posed with the baton in various places within the hotel.
From there we headed to the Alwyn Allison Primary School to be greeted with squeals of delight; three students ran with the baton in a relay for some distance before it boarded the motorcar and headed to the Adrian T Hazel Primary School, where the street was lined on both sides with children hooting and cheering; what a welcome!
Two students ran with the baton to the end of the road and Ras Bucket, a retired athlete himself, took over and continued the run to Back Street South Hill.
Wheelchair bound Slick, took his turn, and although it took some time to figure out a way to attach the baton to his wheelchair to enable him to carry it and wheel the chair at the same time, perseverance paid off.
The baton set off to the W.I.S.E. School by cycle and when it got there two of the students from the school relayed it to Ashley’s Supermarket ,where one of his sons waited to take his turn running with it, heading to the Valley Primary School to be met by Deion, a past Commonwealth Youth Games contender now wheelchair bound.
After the children from the Valley Primary School got a chance to touch the baton, it was taken by motorcar to the Orealia Kelly Primary School where the children lined the street cheering and shouting whilst the baton went from hand to hand down the line.
The ALHCS Campus B School was next in line to receive the baton. It appeared they knew what was expected of them because the minute the baton touched one hand it quickly passed down the line that was already formed on arrival. From there it travelled to Campus A to be greeted by the pupils of the senior school on the Island. Rechelle Meade, a long listed 2014 Glasgow Games athlete, along with Carmel Gumbs, the designer of the ACGA 2014 Glasgow Pin awaited the baton and passed it along so everyone could say they touched it.
After a visit to the Senior Citizen’s Home and a quick lunch break the baton began the final leg of its journey visiting Lake’s World Supermarket and J.W Proctors Supermarket by foot and cycle.
The next school to receive the baton was the Omololu International School, and as we approached the school the children were hollowing and shouting with excitement; circling a tree waiting in anticipation just to touch the baton.
We then headed to the final school on the island, the Central Christian School, where once again the baton received an arousing welcome and after being passed along the line to all the children, two students relayed it for some distance along the road.
Members from Anglec, National Bank of Anguilla, Caribbean Commercial Bank, Social Security Board, Attorney General James Wood, leader of the opposition party Victor Banks, members of the Sports Office, police officers all took turns in relaying the baton until it was handed over to the motorbike team who rode it to the Highway Tyre Shop where a group of athletes from the senior school were waiting to run with it to the Governor’s residence.
The Governor was ready and waiting to cycle the baton to the South Hill Roundabout, where she handed it over to the group of cyclist who accompanied us for most of the day, who then rode it to the Tennis Academy where the BBC were filming and interviewing a variety of children.
To end the day the baton was relayed from the motorcar with a group of motorbikes following making noise all the way to the Anacaona Hotel.
What a fantastic two day event we had. We believe it surpassed all expectations, and although we had a few hiccups along the way, nothing major can be reported. It was our intention to involve all the schools on the island and as many villages as possible. We also wanted to show off our beautiful beaches and involve past and present athletes, sponsors past and present, dignitaries, the elderly, the physically challenged, in fact as many people as possible from different walks of life, and we believe we achieved that goal.