Town set for baton welcome

Newmarket is gearing up to welcome the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton relay which is due to arrive in the town on Monday.

Its arrival at the historic Rowley Mile racecourse will be the centrepiece of a community sport festival with around 500 local schoolchildren taking part.

The baton will be carried in to the course by Ron Wallwork, gold medallist race walker from the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica, and former head of Newmarket’s New Astley Club.

“I welcome the opportunity to be part of an event in Newmarket that will inspire both young and old,” said Ron, who lives in Moulton.

The baton will arrive at the course at 11.40pm where it will be welcomed by Cllr Andy Drummond, chairman of Forest Heath District Council.

There will be a mass participation relay involving the town’s schoolchildren starting at the winning post and then the baton will be handed to former champion jockey Ryan Moore, who lives in Cheveley and rides regularly for the Queen including winning last year’s Gold Cup at Ascot in the royal colours on Estimate.

He will carry it on horseback down the Rowley Mile.

To celebrate the baton passing through the town as part of its 120 mile journey around Suffolk there will be a host of activities at the racecourse including a climbing wall, and sport taster sessions in football, archery and tri-golf provided by local clubs and organisations.

The town is hoping the event will be as successful as the Olympic Torch relay which thousands of people turned out to welcome when it passed through Newmarket two years ago.