Tricia Sharpe takes the Baton on Smithfield Road, Shrewsbury on its way to Victoria Quay: Credit - Sarah Hopper
There was huge excitement in Shrewsbury ahead of the arrival of the Queen's Baton Relay this week and despite searing temperatures, the town put on a splendid show to mark the historic event.
From the moment the RAF Shawbury helicopter was spotted in the sky and the first handover of the baton at Shrewsbury Sports Village, by Flight Sergeant Matt Lingham to Baton Bearers Diane and Ron Morgan, from Shrewsbury, through to the fabulous free community party in The Quarry, organised by Shropshire Festivals - it was certainly a day to remember.
Kelda Wood MBE, founder of Climbing Out, carries the Queen's Baton Relay into Shrewsbury Castle
My Shrewsbury was lucky enough to be invited to the Civic Welcome at Shrewsbury Castle and witnessed the moment that Baton Bearer Kelda Wood MBE knocked on the great oak door of the Castle, begging admittance from the civic welcome party - High Sheriff Selina Graham, the Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire Anna Turner, Chairman of Shropshire Council Vince Hunt, Mayor of Shrewsbury Elisabeth Roberts and our wonderful town crier Martin Wood in full regalia.
It was then carried past a guard of honour from Shrewsbury's E Company 8 Rifles, to be swiftly sent on the next leg of its journey, through the historic streets of Shrewsbury - accompanied by a giant cavalcade - to greet the riverboat Sabrina for a turn along The River Severn, followed by an outing with a crew from Pengwern Boat Club, with the Baton held aloft by Ian Davies from Oswestry, before being carried into The Quarry for a final spin around The Dingle and onto the main stage of the public celebration.
Each Baton Bearer was intended to carry the Baton for a 200 metre stretch, but owing to the heat, several were unable to make it and so some brave souls, including Andy Smith of Smash Life UK, did double, or even triple the distance.
Spectators managed to stay out of the heat, in the shade or benefitting from the lovely misting tents in The Quarry and there was a wonderful, carnival atmosphere throughout town and a sense of a community pulling together. Sports and other community groups were offering 'try it out' sessions in The Quarry and the crowd enjoyed street food, great bands on stage and even a singalong.
After resting overnight (!) the Baton was carried to the top of The Wrekin heading to Ironbridge by coracle and crossing the bridge itself by 'elephant', travelling to Blists Hill by horse and cart and on to Southwater for a tour of Telford Town Park.
You'd think it might need a rest, but it's on to Newport, Lilleshall and then Staffordshire - with many more miles to cover and stunts to enjoy before the official opening of the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham on July 28.
Thank you Baton Bearers!
Here's a reminder of the great people who did the honours when the Queen's Baton Relay came to town:
Kelda Wood MBE, founder of the charity Climbing Out
Ron and Diane Morgan, who run children’s charity, Dreamcatcher Children.
Kath Norgrove, who chairs a grassroots environmental group working towards a more sustainable low-carbon community in Bridgnorth.
Andy Smith, founder of Smash Life, an organisation aimed at young people, social workers and specialists within the care system to help overcome childhood trauma and abuse.
Sally Johnson, who set up the charity The Harry Johnson Trust after her son died aged seven in 2014 of cancer.
Ian Davies, who since being diagnosed with cancer in 2014 has raised thousands of pounds for charity through sporting endeavours.
Rebecca Warren, a ward manager on Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries Unit at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt (RJAH) Hospital in Oswestry, who was seconded to set up and lead the COVID-19 vaccination centre in the hospital.
Chloe Manley, St John Ambulance District Cadet of the Year 2021.
Andrew Reed, who took on what is said to be the toughest mountain race in the world, the Dragons Back Race, and not only finished, but came 48th out of only 90 who finished.
Andy Finazzi, who set up charity Cal-Sibz to help siblings of sick children.
Joanne Wisdom, who, despite a foot injury, limped the London Marathon in just under six hours, raising £4,500 for Brain Research UK.
Tricia Sharpe, who founded The Recoil Trampoline Club and activity centre.
Michael McCarthy, who has overcome many challenges following a car accident, to climb mountains, complete marathons, raise money for charity and become an author.
Pictured below: A selection of images from the day the QBR came to Shrewsbury, including the Civic Welcome at Shrewsbury Castle, with entertainment provided by The Ronnies and food and drink by The River View Cafe and a guard of honour from E Coy 8 Rifles, plus the wonderful celebration in The Quarry with a simply magical installation from artist Andy McKeown at the bandstand!