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.
In Birmingham, the Queen’s Baton Relay will provide the opportunity for communities to experience the excitement for Birmingham 2022 in the 48 hours leading up to the 11 days of the showstopping sport.
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.
Four key themes underpin the two days the Baton will spend in Birmingham:
- Celebrating equality and commonality across the city
- Prioritising inclusivity and showcasing the rich diversity of the city
- Showcasing biodiversity and connectivity
- Engaging and inspiring younger generations in connecting with the Commonwealth and the Games
Arriving in Birmingham on Wednesday 27 July, 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.
It will then take in several parks and open spaces as well as locations such as Sarehole Mill (which inspired the literary works of Tolkien), Birmingham City FC’s St Andrew’s Stadium and the Balti Triangle (home to Birmingham’s signature curry dish).
Later on, it will arrive at the Gay Village (where the Baton will enjoy a drag queen parade and mini carnival) and Gas Street Basin (where it will be carried aboard various forms of canal transport), ending the day in the heart of the city centre in Victoria Square – where a special celebration event, open to the public, will be staged that evening.
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), weaving its way through a number of neighbourhoods taking in more parks and open spaces as well as the likes of the Jewellery Quarter (which contributed to the creation of the Baton).
Later on, it will pass landmarks including the Nishkam Centre on the Soho Road, Perry Hall Park, Sutton Coldfield town centre and Aston Villa FC’s home Villa Park before ending at Aston Hall – from where it will then be taken into the Alexander Stadium 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 7 October 2021, then be read out.
Hundreds of Batonbearers, each with inspiring backgrounds and stories, will have the honour of carrying the Baton during the journey through Birmingham, including those nominated in recognition of their contributions to their local community, whether that be in sport, education, the arts, culture or charity.
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 were 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.
Fuller details of what will be happening along the Birmingham leg of the Baton’s journey, including specific highlight moments, which will help people plan how they celebrate the event, will be announced in the coming weeks, as it edges ever closer to arriving in the city.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay is a great way for people from all parts of Birmingham city to embrace our status as Proud Host City for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
“We’ve been watching with excitement as the Baton makes its way across the Commonwealth, planning and preparing, so when it comes to Birmingham, we will show how bold and vibrant our city is – giving people a sneak preview of our warmth and hospitality before the Games get underway.
“Through initiatives such as our Celebrating Communities fund for projects in every ward of the city, we are providing plenty of ways for people to get involved with Birmingham 2022, but I’d urge everyone to check out the schedule for the Birmingham leg of the Relay. Find a place to cheer our inspirational Batonbearers on, and get involved in this fantastic way you can be a part of the Games.”
Since its inaugural appearance at the Cardiff 1958 Commonwealth Games, the Queen’s Baton Relay has been a tradition for the Commonwealth Games.
John Crabtree, Chairman of Birmingham 2022, said: “Seeing the route the Queen’s Baton Relay will take through Birmingham provides a real sense of the excitement that will soon captivate this city during the final 48 hours leading up to the Games.
The two-day relay will be a momentous finale of celebration, following what will have been an incredible journey through the country. The calling points along the route offer a truly unique opportunity to showcase the many sides to our wonderful city, draw communities together and offer residents the chance to be enthralled in the spectacle of the Queen’s Baton Relay, whether that’s at an event in the heart of the city, or as it passes landmarks on the outskirts.
It will also showcase the extraordinary human spirit that exists here, by shining the spotlight on the Birmingham Batonbearers, each nominated and selected for their remarkable achievements and inspiring stories. I would encourage everyone to come out and support these heroes of the community on the relay on the 27 and 28 July.”
For more information on the Queen’s Baton Relay, visit the dedicated Birmingham 2022 webpage.