WHOOPS and cheers heralded the arrival of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games baton relay to Warwick district on Friday (July 22).
Crowds turned out in force on the streets of Kenilworth and Whitnash to catch a glimpse of the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.
And residents of both towns certainly did the district proud despite the early hour – waving their flags, enjoying a cuppa – roadside – and raising their voices in a roar of encouragement.
The baton arrived in Kenilworth to a wall of noise at 8am.
Spectators kept up the applause as they lined the route from High Street to Kenilworth Castle to witness the specially selected community champions – including Julie Atkins who has volunteered with girl guiding in Warwick for 36 years and world number six squash player Sarah-Jane Perry – carry it relay fashion.
Other batonbearers chosen for Kenilworth were Chris Luck, who donated one of his kidneys to a friend with Polycystic Kidney Disease, double paralympic swimming champion Melanie Barratt, town councillor John Dearing, Kim Reeman, Ania Kocznur and Kenilworth rotarian Iain Wilson.
Next the baton headed onto Whitnash where residents were also out in force, ready to urge on Antony Lewis as he took the baton on a lap of honour around the sports ground at around 9.20am. Mr Lewis was nominated to carry the baton after setting up a charity in memory of his son Conrad who was killed in action in Afghanistan.
The baton also stopped off at Warwick Castle for a private visit.
Nick Blofeld, the castle’s Divisional Director, said: “It is a great honour to have welcomed the Queen’s Baton to our historic venue as part of its extraordinary journey throughout the Commonwealth.
“The castle has played an instrumental role in the history of our monarchy as well as playing host to many kings and queens over the centuries.
“We are thrilled to have been a part of this inspiring relay as it connects communities, embraces cultures and shares stories”.
The baton relay is on a 294-day long tour across the Commonwealth, which includes a journey across the length and breadth of England, before culminating at the Opening Ceremony for Birmingham 2022 on Thursday (July 28).
Warwickshire officially welcomed the baton on Thursday (July 21). Batonbearers carried it through North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth and Rugby on that day before it hit Warwick and Stratford districts on Friday.