Birmingham [UK], July 23 (ANI): In just one week the Queen's Baton will arrive in the host city of Birmingham for the final two days of its 294-day Commonwealth-wide journey.
On Wednesday 27 July, the Baton will begin its visit, taking in all ten of the city's Parliamentary constituencies and will be carried by hundreds of local community heroes who will take on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be Batonbearers.
People in all of the city's neighbourhoods will only be a short distance from a part of the route and are being warmly welcomed to check out the schedule (detailed below) and plan where they want to cheer the Baton as it makes its way through Birmingham.
There will be a location not too far away from where everyone lives or works, so people are encouraged to support their most local Batonbearers or use public transport or active travel options wherever possible to view this historic journey.
Arriving in Birmingham on Wednesday, July 27, the Baton will begin its tour of the city at the Botanical Gardens, which opened in 1832 and remains one of the city's biggest attractions to this day. As a stunning backdrop to kick off proceedings, the venue will showcase species/flowers from all Commonwealth countries/nations.
It will then take in several parks and open spaces as well as locations such as the iconic Old Joe clocktower at the University of Birmingham (the Games Venue for Squash and Hockey), Sarehole Mill, Birmingham City FC's St Andrew's stadium and the Balti Triangle (home to Birmingham's signature curry dish).
During the stops at parks, there will be special community celebrations including at Cotteridge Park, Swanshurst Park and Small Heath Park, with all welcome to attend.
Later on, during the first day in Birmingham, it will arrive at the Gay Village (where drag queens and Chinese dragons will be amongst the welcoming committee) and Gas Street Basin (where Dragon boats with drummers will follow the Baton down the Canal), before a journey down Broad Street aboard the West Midlands Metro, before ending the day in the heart of the city centre in Victoria Square - where a "homecoming" celebration event, open to the public, will be staged that evening from 5pm-9pm.
The following morning, Thursday 28 July, will see the final day of the relay start at Birmingham Children's Hospital (celebrating the efforts of the NHS locally, and giving young patients a chance to see the Baton as it makes its way through wards and corridors).
It will then weave its way through a number of neighbourhoods taking in more parks and open spaces as well as the likes of the Jewellery Quarter (where the efforts of those behind the creation of the Baton and the Games medals will be recognised).
Later on, it will pass landmarks including Handsworth Library and the Nishkam Centre on Soho Road, Sutton Coldfield town centre, a community celebration at Pype Hayes Park (due to run from 11 am to 3 pm) and Aston Villa FC's home Villa Park (where the Relay will go up and down the iconic Holte End steps).
The long journey then ends at Aston Hall - which will be the scene of a family fun event from 12 pm to 4 pm featuring historical interpreters, including King Charles I and Queen Victoria (in costume) along with an opportunity to have a go at a diverse range of activities including lawn bowls, jousting, welly tossing, egg and spoon races, archery, and crafting.
The Baton will then be taken into the Alexander Stadium that evening as part of the Opening Ceremony for the Games.
During the ceremony, the Baton will be opened - and The Queen's personal message to the Commonwealth, inserted when the relay began at Buckingham Palace on October 7, then be read out.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: "The four-and-a-half years of planning and preparation for Birmingham 2022, the biggest event to ever be staged in our great city's history, are now turning into reality.
"The Commonwealth Games are well and truly upon us - and the Queen's Baton Relay coming to our city is the moment for everyone, wherever they are in Birmingham to get the party and the celebrations started.
"There are so many wonderful locations from which to enjoy this special occasion and cheer on the many inspirational Batonbearers, who have done so much for our city. I can't wait to see these two days unfold across Birmingham, demonstrating how bold and welcoming we really are."The Birmingham Baton route has been shaped following a year of planning and preparation including engagement with all political groups on the city council and West Midlands Police.
Also involved was the council's own Commonwealth Games and Physical Activity Overview and Scrutiny Committee, whose then-Chair Cllr Mariam Khan played a key role in suggesting ways in which the emerging proposals could be refined to ensure more communities and groups were represented via the final route taken by the relay. (ANI)