Ritchie Donovan feels proud to be acknowledged

DOUBLE FLAME: Ritchie Donovan is honoured to follow his Olympic torch run with this Commonwealth Games one.
DOUBLE FLAME: Ritchie Donovan is honoured to follow his Olympic torch run with this Commonwealth Games one.

Currently in the Cook Islands, the baton bearing the Queen’s message is 127 days away from the grand finale on the Gold Coast for the XXI Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on 4 April, 2018. 

The Baton arrives in Australia on 24 December 2017 and will enter Kempsey on 2 Feb 2018.

It will then make its way down to Forster Tuncurry and visit towns between Newcastle and Batemans Bay before travelling all around Australia.

Baton bearers for the Kempsey leg include: Mark Morrison, Drew Walsh and Paul Phillips, former Crescent Head resident and Olympic bronze medallist swimmer Leith Brody as well as David Chapman,  Alani Cockshutt, Glenys Cummings and Louise Currey.

For Macksville baton bearer, Ritchie Donovan, the honour is especially sweet as it gives him the double, having run in the Olympic Baton Relay in Coffs Harbour in 2000.

“I spend a lot of my time giving – I love this valley and the kids here, sharing sport with them is my passion, so this acknowledgement is special and best of all, this time I get to run in my hometown.

“This really feels like the top … if I don’t win anything else now, it won't matter.”

READY TO RUN: David Walker is set to take off on his relay leg.

READY TO RUN: David Walker is set to take off on his relay leg.

Passionate sports fan David Walker will also carry the baton.

Mr Walker, who works at the not-for-profit organisation Nambucca Valley Phoenix was nominated by carers and is bursting with excitement. 

“It will be very special to run in this – I’ve seen them do it on tv, I watched Cathy Freeman do it … I love sport, especially cricket and I am training at the gym,” David said.

Dedicated sports administrator Anthony Miles will also join the relay and said being given the baton guernsey is “an absolute privilege”.

“It is a dream come true for any sports person,” Anthony said.

“I’ve played multiple sports over the years but now I am more involved in the administrative side of things, helping community sports keep their clubs going. 

“Without someone making a club, sport doesn’t exist.”

Upon arriving at the Gold Coast, the Queen’s Baton will be given to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who will remove Her Majesty’s message and read it aloud to declare the Games officially open.

Other local baton bearers include:

Charlie Brenton, Peter and Trudi Needs and Sheryl Pearson from South West Rocks, John Clancy from Coffs Harbour and John Croll from Putney.