There was a carnival atmosphere as more than 1,000 people flocked to the Queen’s Baton Relay at Monmouth School for Boys
Pupils from Overmonnow, Kymin View and Osbaston Primary Schools were among the many children who enjoyed the event.
A rendition of the Welsh national anthem from Year 11 pupil Carys Davies and a rugby-themed dance troupe from Monmouth School for Girls, choreographed by teacher Rhyan Parry, added to the special occasion.
Young Welsh trampolinist Lawrence Johnson, who carried the baton with fellow trampolinist Zoe Cripwell, said it was a day to remember.
“It was great and one of the best things I have done in my life so far; it was amazing,” said Lawrence, who has won Welsh Under 13 and Under 11 titles.
“The best thing was when my friends ran around the track with me.”
The Baton for the Gold Coast Commonweath Games 2018 came face to face with the very first Queen’s Baton which started life in Wales as the prelude to the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Cardiff in 1958.
The original baton belongs to Mrs Hackett Pain, the daughter of Sir Godfrey Llewellyn, who was chairman of the organising committee for the 1958 Games.
Mrs Hackett Pain, who was a special guest at the Monmouth event, also has copies of the Queen’s message inside the original baton, along with medals from the Games.
Team Wales cyclist Lewis Oliva, who is hoping to appear at his third Commonwealth Games next April, is a former pupil at the school and opened the occasion with a lap around the sports ground.
Former professional cricketers Andrew Jones and James Boiling, both teachers at the school, enjoyed a brisk lap with the baton.
Andrew’s wife, Caroline Jones, who teaches PE at Monmouth School for Girls and is a European Aquathlon champion, teamed up with the girls’ netball team who were crowned Welsh Under 18 champions earlier this year.
Two sets of rowing siblings – Nick Hartland and Kate Callaghan and Pippa and Will England – were joined by former GB rower Pip Christie on their lap of the course. All are former Haberdashers’ Monmouth School pupils.
Monmouth couple Terry and Valerie Howells were baton bearers having first met as programme sellers at the 1958 Commonwealth Games.
Terry, a former swing bowler and captain at Monmouth Cricket Club, has been married to Valerie for 54 years.
The baton bearers also included former Wales and British and Irish Lions rugby international John Bevan, who is a past housemaster and a coach. He was joined by members of the school’s first XV rugby team
Dylan Hughes, a Monmouth Comprehensive School pupil, who swims for Wales and is a member of Down Syndrome Swimming GB, was proud to be nominated and was excited by the support he received.
European canicross champion Rowan Saxton raced through his lap with his dog Henry.
He said: “It was an amazing experience. It is great that canicross is being recognised internationally.
“We are both very privileged to have got our sport out there. It was a very good experience in front of a large number of people. Henry was looking at me the whole way around, suggesting we needed to go faster.”
Former pupil Peter Barnes, who took an avid interest in computer science and engineering, rounded off the event with a lap in a Greenpower car which he helped to build.
Second Master, Simon Dorman, from Monmouth School for Boys, said: “We had a lovely, sunny day and a great turnout of pupils from the Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools and all the primary schools in Monmouth. It was a lovely carnival atmosphere and lot of young people enjoyed getting up close and touching the baton.
“It was fantastic to see hundreds of young people having their photographs taken with the baton and enjoying the occasion.”
Baton bearer Bill Owen, from Abergavenny, who has been the backbone of cycling in Wales for many years, said: “I didn’t expect all the children to be having such a brilliant time. Let’s hope this event leaves a legacy because that’s what I have tried to do all my life in my chosen sport.”
Featured image: Former Wales and British and Irish Lions rugby union star John Bevan runs with the Queen’s Baton at Monmouth School for Boys