Commonwealth Games: Queen's Baton Relay set for Cambridgeshire visit

Young innovator, Vinisha Umashankar represented India as a batonbearer, when the Queen’s Baton Relay visited India in January

Young innovator, Vinisha Umashankar (left) represented India as a batonbearer, when the Queen’s Baton Relay visited India in January - Credit: Birmingham 2022

To mark this year's Commonwealth Games, the Queen's Baton Relay will pass through Cambridgeshire on its England tour.

This year's Baton - which celebrates the strength and fortitude of women across the Commonwealth - set off on an international tour in October and is due to travel through the East of England on July 8 and 9.

As part of the relay, the Baton will stop at Cambridgeshire's Wellcome Genome Campus, where Dr Martin Dougherty, Wellcome Sanger's chief operating officer, promises a "jam-packed day that celebrates science and sport".

Queen Elizabeth II passes her baton to Tokyo 2020 para cycling and Rio 2016 400m gold medallist Kadeena Cox

Queen Elizabeth II passes her baton to Tokyo 2020 para cycling and Rio 2016 400m gold medallist Kadeena Cox - Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

Dr Dougherty said: "It is truly an honour to host the Queen’s Baton Relay ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

"We are excited that the Wellcome Genome Campus has been chosen as a venue, and this is a fantastic opportunity to invite people from the community, school children and our staff to come together."

The Queen's Baton Relay is set to stop at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton

The Queen's Baton Relay is set to stop at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton - Credit: Philip Mynott

Daniel Goodfellow (left), from Meldreth, Cambridgeshire, took gold in the men's 10m synchro in the Games 2018 with Tom Daley

Daniel Goodfellow (left), from Meldreth in Cambridgeshire, took gold in the men's 10m synchro in the Commonwealth Games 2018 with diving partner Tom Daley - Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

The Wellcome Sanger Institute was part of the Human Genome Project, which created and published the first draft of a human "genome" - the genetic instructions which allow people to grow and develop.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the team at the Genome Campus - near the M11 at Hinxton - tracked new Covid-19 variants to understand how the pandemic was spreading.

Dr Dougherty added: "Our event hopes to bring people together after the difficulties of the last two years for a day of festivities, showcasing local talent, entertainment and food, and the work we do here at the campus."

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The relay began in London on October 7, 2021, when Queen Elizabeth II handed the Baton to Paralympic gold-medal winning athlete Kadeena Cox.

Kadeena Cox receives the Birmingham 2022 baton from Queen Elizabeth II

Kadeena Cox receives the Birmingham 2022 baton from Queen Elizabeth II - Credit: Alastair Grant/PA

Layla Guscoth, England netball player, with the Birmingham 2022 Baton before it began its world tour

Layla Guscoth, England netball player, with the Birmingham 2022 Baton before it began its world tour - Credit: Jacob King/PA

Since then, the Baton has travelled through countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America.

It will arrive in the East of England on Friday, July 8, when the relay will pass through parts of south Essex, Luton and Hemel Hempstead.

On Saturday, July 9, the relay will take in King's Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Bury St Edmunds before arriving in Hinxton.

The Duke of Cambridge with the Birmingham 2022 baton in the United Arab Emirates

The Duke of Cambridge with the Birmingham 2022 baton in the United Arab Emirates - Credit: Henry Nicholls/PA

Usain Bolt and mascot Borobi at the Carrara Stadium for the Commonwealth Games 2018 in the Gold Coast, Australia

Usain Bolt and mascot Borobi at the Carrara Stadium for the Commonwealth Games 2018 in the Gold Coast, Australia - Credit: Mike Egerton/PA

After visiting the Wellcome Genome Campus, the day's event will end in Cambridge city centre.

Along the way, batonbearers with "inspirational" stories and achievements will walk, run, ride or wheel through cities and towns - cheered on by neighbours, friends and spectators.

Dame Louise Martin, Commonwealth Games Federation president, said: "The Queen’s Baton Relay symbolises hope, solidarity and collaboration across the Commonwealth at a time when it is needed most."

The Commonwealth Games take place in Birmingham, starting on Thursday, July 28.

Layla Guscoth, England netball international, with Perry the official mascot on October 8, when the baton left for Cyprus

Layla Guscoth, England netball international, with Perry the official mascot on October 8, when the baton left Birmingham International Airport for Cyprus - Credit: Jacob King/PA

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: "The final leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay enables communities the length and breadth of England to experience the excitement around Birmingham 2022 before the Baton lands in Birmingham to take centre stage at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on July 28.

"What’s also very special is the role played by thousands of batonbearers - each with inspiring backgrounds – who will carry the Baton on its journey through England after being put forward as a result of their contribution to their local communities.

"I congratulate all of them and look forward to seeing them in action along the route."

Ian Reid, chief executive of Birmingham 2022, said: "Whilst the Baton has been travelling across the Commonwealth, we have worked closely with local authorities in England to devise a route that engages with hundreds of communities. 

"It passes sport venues, historic sites, local schools and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

"Yet the Queen’s Baton Relay is far more than just a journey. It symbolises connecting people from every corner of the Commonwealth. 

"It celebrates batonbearers who take on challenges, and marks the countdown to the biggest sporting event in West Midlands history.

"We hope that communities across the country join the excitement, attend events near them, line the streets to cheer on our incredible batonbearers and celebrate the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games."

The route is subject to last-minute change, organisers warned.