Queen’s Baton Relay visits Exeter Quay and St Sidwell’s Point

The Queen’s Baton Relay has passed through Exeter on a nationwide tour ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham later this month.

The Baton set off on a Paddleboard along the Exeter Canal Basin on Monday morning, taking a loop around the quayside from Piazza Terracina and returning across the river using the Butts Ferry floating bridge.

It was then taken to Exeter’s new Passivhaus leisure centre St Sidwell’s Point for the Devon School Games SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) Swim Festival hosted by Active Devon.

City Council Leader Phil Bialyk said: “This is an important day for Exeter – this is one of the few places that the baton is visiting. I am very proud – it is great for Exeter and its residents.

“We’re still on a mission to get people healthy and active, particularly after Covid. We all now like to get out and about and there’s a lot of activities going on here, we’ve got the schools involved and I think it’s great that Exeter can make this happen.”

Exeter Foodbank manager Mark Richardson was among those who carried the Baton along the route in Exeter.

His pioneering work supporting those in need in Exeter and beyond, particularly over the pandemic is inspirational.

Sensitive to ensuring the dignity of EFB clients, Mark has transformed the offering to a supermarket-type service where clients choose what they need rather than be handed a ‘standard bag of food offering’.

Mark, who has been running the foodbank for the last five years, said: “I am here today representing around 180 volunteers who all do such an amazing job. Thousands of people donate to Foodbank every years and thousands of people use the Foodbank.

“So I am here in recognition of the great job that our volunteers do – they really are amazing.”

Cllr Josie Parkhouse, Lead Councillor for Leisure Services & Physical Activity, said: “I’m really proud of St Sidwell’s Point and really happy to be welcoming lots of people there today as part of the Baton Relay, because it’s a great place and everyone who goes there can’t stop talking about what an amazing place it is.

“Exeter is already a really active city, and events like this will just encourage more people to get active. I am really proud of Exeter and this is such a good opportunity to raise the profile of our amazing city.”

Birmingham 2022 is hosting the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay – a journey which brings together and celebrates communities across the Commonwealth during the build up to the Games.

The relay will travel the length and breadth of England for a total of 29 days, before culminating at the Opening Ceremony for Birmingham 2022 on 28 July.

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