The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has confirmed the inspirational people from communities across the West Midlands who will take on the role of Batonbearer in the Queen’s Baton Relay this summer.
The Queen’s Baton will return home to the West Midlands on 18 – 28 July, in the final ten-day countdown to Birmingham 2022. The successful Batonbearers have been specially selected to represent the West Midlands and carry the Baton through local communities.
On its tour of Commonwealth nations and territories, the Queen’s Baton will arrive back in England on 2 June 2022 for a four-day visit to London, coinciding with The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend, before resuming the international journey. It later returns to England on 4 July to commence a 25-day tour across all remaining regions. The Relay will culminate at the Alexander Stadium on 28 July for the Opening Ceremony, where the Queen’s Message will be read aloud, signifying the official start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The confirmation of Batonbearers comes following the public nomination campaign in January 2022, from which approximately 8,000 nominations for were submitted. The callout was for inspirational people in England who met the selection criteria:
- Always willing to take on a challenge and has a unique and inspiring story;
- Has made a meaningful contribution to sport, education, the arts, culture, or charity;
- Is a figure of inspiration that positively challenges others to achieve their best;
- Has taken on a challenge or cause and made a positive impact within their community
Nominations were reviewed by regional selection panels made up of representatives from youth organisations, charities, universities, community leaders, and representatives from Local Authorities.
Batonbearers have been selected in all nine regions of England and embody the diversity in communities across the country. From local heroes to inspirational school children, the Batonbearers come from all walks of life, backgrounds and vary in age – with children as young as 12 taking part – and each take on issues that matter most to them.
Today, CJ Lloyd Webley, from the West Midlands joined other confirmed community Batonbearers at the Alexander Stadium, where the Relay will reach its finale following a month of celebrations across the country.
Each Batonbearer has been notified on which day and in which region they will carry the Baton, which will be on one of the following dates:
- London – Thursday 2 June – Monday 6 June
- South West – Monday 4 July – Tuesday 5 July
- South East – Wednesday 6 July – Thursday 7 July
- East of England – Friday 8 July – Saturday 9 July
- East Midlands – Sunday 10 July – Monday 11 July
- Yorkshire & The Humber – Tuesday 12 July – Wednesday 13 July
- North East – Thursday 14 July – Friday 15 July
- North West – Saturday 16 July – Sunday 17 July
- West Midlands – Monday 18 July – Thursday 28 July
Further details of Queen’s Baton Relay route will be revealed in May 2022.
|Batonbearer case study – CJ Lloyd Webley|
Growing up on the Lyndhurst Estate in Erdington, CJ was aware of the levels of crime that persisted within his neighbourhood. As a young boy, he was keen to avoid this culture and soon discovered, through taking on a role within his school’s production of Oliver Twist, that he could channel his energy via acting and performance.
At both school and university, CJ found that there was a lack of representation in the plays they studied and performed, and he soon realised his drive to tackle inequality and celebrate Black British history within the arts, specifically within theatre.
He went onto forge a career in writing for the stage, from a socially conscious perspective, telling the stories of people within his own communities and walks of life. He has produced material which takes inspiration from Black-British culture. His writing and projects have tackled men’s mental health, overlooked key workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, a worker’s experience on a construction site, Black inmates at Winson Green Prison and stories of immigration.
These projects also prepared him to be assistant director on a verbatim project about the Grenfell Inquiry, where he hosted panel discussions with bereaved survivors. As well as being an acclaimed writer and director, CJ is also a social entrepreneur. In 2020 he founded The Black Pounds Project. Based in the West Midlands, the company runs a mentorship programme, offering support to freelancers, sole-traders, and start-ups.
The Black Pounds Project has offered support to many black and diverse business owners, helping them launch and develop careers. CJ’s mission has been built around the visibility of stories that resonate with his own. He is passionate to advocate to be a positive role model and to continue conversations that help voices be heard. CJ has been selected as a Batonbearer for the West Midlands for taking on challenges and making a positive impact within his community.
Batonbearers will play an integral role in the Queen’s Baton Relay when it returns to England this summer, taking on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carry the Queen’s Baton in their region and building excitement for the highly-anticipated Commonwealth Games. They will join over 7,500 Batonbearers that have already passed the Baton between communities on the international journey.
As Official Partner of the Queen’s Baton Relay, watchmaking company Longines is working with Birmingham-based charity Sport4Life and has nominated individuals from across the organisation to carry the Baton. Just one of the selected Batonbearers from the charity is Tom Clarke-Forrest, the founder and CEO of Sport4Life.
The charity uses sport as a vehicle to achieve sustained education, training and employment outcomes for young people. Tom provided leadership and direction for the charity since its inception in 2006 and, over 15 years, has grown into the leading sport-for-employability charity across the West Midlands, employing 24 full-time staff and meaningfully supporting over 1,500 young people, towards better futures, each year.
Sport4Life also has an Employability Programme for Young People, recognised by United By Birmingham 2022, which helps young people in Birmingham who are disadvantaged, at risk of being unemployed or who are NEET (not in education, employment or training). The charity is also an Assignment Provider for the Birmingham 2022 Gen22 programme.
As a tradition of the Commonwealth Games, the Queen’s Baton Relay builds anticipation for the Games ahead by celebrating, connecting, and exciting communities across the Commonwealth and highlighting untold stories and unsung local heroes from the places it visits. Since October, the Baton has been travelling across the entire Commonwealth, with visits to Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean and the Americas, where over 7,500 Batonbearers have passed the Baton between communities.
Batonbearers for the Queen’s Baton Relay journey through Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will be chosen based on criteria set by the Commonwealth Games Associations in the respective country.
Lisa Hampton, Head of the Queen’s Baton Relay, said: “The Queen’s Baton Relay aims to excite and celebrate communities not only around the Commonwealth, but here in the host country of England. This journey would be nothing without the community of Batonbearers that bring the Relay to life. We’ve seen it internationally, and we can’t wait to see it in England.
“Our journey through England is an important one. Not only is it the finale to an epic international journey spanning eight months, but it’s an opportunity to engage with and celebrate individuals who work hard to ensure their community is a special place. We want to showcase these awe-inspiring stories; celebrating the diversity of England’s communities and the people working hard to make a difference.”
Commonwealth Games Federation President Dame Louise Martin DBE said: “I would like to congratulate all the inspirational individuals who have been selected to carry the Queen’s Baton Relay across the Host Country.
“The last leg of the Baton’s long journey across the 72 nations and territories of the Commonwealth will be such a special moment for everyone involved with the Games. It will provide a final opportunity for the whole country to engage with Birmingham 2022 ahead of the Opening Ceremony on 28 July, where the Queen’s Message will be read aloud and the Commonwealth Games will begin.”
Commonwealth Games Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “This June the Queen’s Baton Relay comes home. Arriving in London for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the Baton will travel from coast to coast bringing people together and championing 2,022 specially nominated community heroes.
“The relay has connected 72 nations and territories and serves as a symbol of the values of peace and friendship that the Commonwealth Sport family has always upheld.”
CJ Lloyd Webley, Batonbearer case study said: “I am so honoured to have been chosen as a Batonbearer for the West Midlands. Being able to carry the Baton in my home area is so special, the anticipation is really ramping up for the Queen’s Baton Relay and Birmingham 2022, I’m thrilled I get to play a part in it”
The Baton is currently visiting the Cayman Islands, which is the Baton’s 50th destination out of 72. In the last 30 days, the Baton has visited Australia, Belize, Guyana, Grenada, The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.
For more information on the Queen’s Baton Relay, visit www.birmingham2022.com/qbr.