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News article

York St John University student and GB long jumper carries the Queen’s Baton in York

Published: 13 July 2022

  •   Events
School pupils and staff infront of sports field on sunny day

To welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay and to enjoy an afternoon of sports activities, 600 primary pupils from 20 York schools got together at York St John University's Sports Park for celebrations. 

The event was held on the second day of the Baton being in Yorkshire, to inspire more people to get active. Ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games getting underway in Birmingham on 28 July, the York sports event has helped build excitement and reflect the Games’ breadth of sports, providing pupils new activities to try, and new sports to pick up. 

After running the Baton around a section of York’s City Walls and York Minster, York’s fifth Batonbearer, York St John University student Lucy Hadaway, took the Baton to the Sports Park and ran with two Year 6 pupils from each of the schools attending. 

Batonbearers were nominated in recognition of their contributions to their local community and being an inspiration to others. Lucy competes for Great Britain in the long jump and is a member of City of York Athletics Club. She has just completed her undergraduate degree in physiology at the university, and is due to graduate this November.

Arriving at the campus as a flash mob dance erupted, Lucy showed the Baton to children taking part, explaining that each touch helped the Baton to change colour. The mass dance spectacular had been choreographed and taught by Helen Brown from KINESIS Dance to the pupils that morning, and featured music including the National Anthem, a sea shanty and Motown classic ‘Dancing in the Street’. 

Lucy said: “It was wonderful to be back at the University Sports Park and such a privilege to be asked to be a part of this celebration. It was a special day, as the two major passions in my life came together- my time at York St John training to be a physio and my athletics career. My family got to come along also, and it was lovely to share my university and this experience with them. The young people here today brought such an energy!” 

A Team England official also commented on the fantastic energy generated for York's part of the Queen's Baton Relay. 

This was one of a variety of sports and activities delivered by city clubs and providers. They included football from the I2I Academy, tennis from Down the Line Tennis, Boccia provided by York St John University, hockey by City of York Hockey club, netball from the York RI Netball Club, rugby league by York City Knights Foundation, cricket from the Clifton Alliance Cricket Club, squash from Wigginton Squash and Social Club, bowls by the Joseph Rowntree and the York RI Bowls clubs, and archery and orienteering by the York School Sports Network Sports Leaders. 

Following the event, the Baton moved on to Scarborough and Whitby. 

Becky Barrett, Head of YSJActive at York St John University said: “We’re so pleased to play our part in such an incredible community event. Engaging in sport when you’re young is proven to help you to develop healthy habits for life and being given the opportunity to try new ones is so important. I’m sure the pupils who’ve attended today will remember being part of the Queen’s Baton Relay for years to come and hopefully some of the sports that they’ve been able to try will have a lasting impact too.” 

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, said: “It was fantastic to see local school children be part of this once-in-a-lifetime event which blends the Queen’s Baton Relay with the Commonwealth Games. I know the children have had a truly memorable day and I hope that they carry on enjoying the sports and activities they tried today. I would like to thank all the clubs and organisations which laid on this incredible event, and of course to the young people who took part.” 

Councillor Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “Encouraging children into healthy, active habits is crucial for their long-term physical and mental wellbeing. Research shows that being active helps children’s mental health and their concentration levels, it develops social skills, supports physical development and is great fun. I’m delighted to see 20 York primary schools taking part and supporting their pupils to get active.”  

The Commonwealth Games begin on 28 July and you can find out more about the Baton Relay on the Birmingham 2022 website.

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