Back in March, I received an email from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games’ organisers telling me that I had been chosen to be a batonbearer.
I was delighted, as – although I knew I had been nominated by the National Deaf Children Society (NDCS) – it was still a big surprise when the email came through!
Anne-Marie who is a Youth Outreach Officer at NDCS, told me that she nominated me due to my voluntary work with the charity. I am a Youth Support Volunteer and a deaf role model, which I really enjoy. It gives me enormous pleasure to give presentations and share my experiences with younger deaf children.
I absolutely love being a role model because I want to help deaf young people realise that being deaf doesn’t have to stop you doing anything in life!
I was so proud to be asked to take part in the Commonwealth Games’ Queen’s Baton Relay. When the letter dropped through my door in May, I wasn’t sure what the big envelope was at first, but then I realised it was from the Games and I got really excited.
I was chuffed to bits that I would be carrying the baton in my hometown of Linlithgow. Even better, it was to be on Sunday 15 June, which meant I didn’t have to take time off work and all my family and friends could come along and support me.
The next thing to arrive in the post was my uniform, I was hoping that it wouldn’t be too big or too small for me, it fitted perfectly! My mum came up with an idea that we should have a get-together after the relay.
I thought it was a brilliant idea and went straight on to the laptop to send out the invites and tell all my friends about it. All my family and friends were really happy for me. I think I made them all proud!
The big day arrived and I was feeling very excited and anxious but I was really looking forward to the experience. The weather was cloudy and overcast and I was hoping it wouldn’t rain, but I needn’t have worried as it stayed dry all day! The other thought running through my head was that I must not drop the baton!
I went to the meeting point where all the batonbearers had to sign in and I then found out exactly where in Linlithgow I would be carrying the baton, all my family and friends kept texting me to find out!
I was pleased to hear that I was running along the side of Linlithgow Loch with the Linlithgow Palace in the background. Next, I met my fellow batonbearers and we swapped stories with each other as to why we had been nominated. It felt good meeting all these new people.
Following the arrival of my family and posing for numerous photos, it was time for the shuttle bus to take us to the meeting point up at Linlithgow Palace. When we arrived it was packed with spectators who were cheering us on. As I walked to the pickup point where the baton would be passed on to me, I could see all my family and friends standing clapping their hands and cheering. I was getting really nervous, but excited at the same time. A few of my family and friends came up to me and told me, “good luck and don’t drop it!”.
In the distance I could see the baton approaching me. This was it, this was the moment I had been looking forward to. The previous batonbearer came towards me, we hugged and shook hands and everyone was pushing their way to the front of the crowd to take photos. There were a lot of camera flashes in my eyes, but then I had the baton in my hand and I started my journey. As I walked down the hill, I could see and hear everyone clapping and cheering and taking more photos. I felt overwhelmed and proud that I had been given the honor to be part of history in my hometown.
It all passed very quickly and before I knew it, it was my turn to pass the baton to the next batonbearer; more photos were taken again and I was beginning to realise what it must be like to be a celebrity! As the baton carried on its journey, my family and friends ran towards me, hugged me, shook hands and patted my back saying “well done”.
It was a once in a lifetime experience which I will remember forever.
By Fraser Gunn
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
- Phonak: innovative technology and products in hearing acoustics
- Ai-Live: Check out the 6 best deaf subreddits!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Clarion: BSL/English interpreting and employment services
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: online BSL learning and teaching materials
- DCAL: Find out how to study at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, London
- Sarah Gatford: BSL interpreting, training and consultancy
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning
- Sign Lingual: BSL interpreting and communication services
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- SDHH: Project Development and Consultancy
- Mykasoft: Deaf-run Web Design Studio
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- deafPLUS: Money advice line in BSL
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- RAD: tax advice for Deaf people
- Krazy Kat: visual theatre with BSL
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children