Wyndham’s unsung heroes took centre stage when they carried the Queen’s Baton through the streets of Werribee today.
Sixteen baton bearers – many of whom had long links with local sports clubs – were selected for the significant contributions they had made within their communities.
Werribee’s Lyn Tout was the first baton bearer of the day, starting the local leg of the relay at Werribee Primary School, where she was once a student, teacher and principal.
She was followed by retired MFB firefighter and philanthropist Donald Brennan and cricket coach Rob Ward.
Wyndham Vale CFA captain Trevor Weston proved popular among the school kids, using his turn to show the baton to Corpus Christi Primary School children lined along the school fence, then high-fiving MacKillop College students outside the school.
Madison Robinson, who was part of the gold medal-winning Australia Diamonds netball team at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, took the baton for a victory lap around Soldier’s Reserve with hundreds of school children cheering her on.
Victoria Point footballer Molly-Rose Parry also completed a lap around Soldier’s Reserve before heading back out on to College Road and passing the baton to athletics coach Brett Hardeman, who was cheered on by members of his Altona Little Athletics Club training squad.
Next up was Seabrook’s Phil Dunstone, an Athletics Australia-level coach and long-time member of Western Athletics, followed by AM Margaret Fisk, who established the Defence Special Needs Support Group in 1993.
Wyndham SES founding member and former Weerama director Gerald Greenwood brought the baton to the Kelly Park end of Watton Street and passed it on to Werribee CFA captain and MICA flight paramedic Michael Wells. From there, it was straight down Watton Street to Chirnside Park, with Olympic women’s skeet shooter Lauryn Mark, joey Scout leader Catriona Tyrrell, Werribee Centrals Football Club life member Gerry Hart, carer Genevieve Mercieca and 2016 Wyndham citizen of the year Julie Toner each taking turns.
An integral part of the Commonwealth Games, the Queen’s Baton Relay started its global journey at Buckingham Palace on March 13 last year. It travelled through every Commonwealth nation and territory before landing in Australia on Christmas Day.
The relay is halfway through its 100-day journey around Australia and will finish up at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on April 4. The Games are declared officially open when a message inside the baton from the Queen of England is read aloud.
The Werribee baton bearers are among 3800 baton bearers selected to participate in the Australian leg of the relay.
Wyndham mayor Peter Maynard said the Queen’s Baton Relay was a great way to celebrate Wyndham’s local heroes, who “all give time and effort to make Wyndham a better place”.
“What a fantastic day for Wyndham and the Queen’s Baton Relay,” Cr Maynard said.
“Events like this don’t happen often and we are honoured Wyndham was chosen.”