Glasgow & West Scotland

Local heroes take part in the Queen's Baton Relay

After a journey of more than 180,000km, passing through more than 70 nations and territories the Queen's Baton has arrived in Scotland.

Between 14 June and 23 July, the baton will visit all 32 of Scotland's local authorities ahead of opening ceremony of Glasgow's Commonwealth Games on 23 July.

Up to 4,000 batonbearers will take part in the the relay in more than 400 communities. Each of the runners have been chosen due to their work in the local community.

The baton's journey through the west of Scotland will see it travel from Kilmarnock to Mauchline and into Dalmellington.

It will then be carried across Rutherglen into Hamilton and Lanark.

Shahbaz Mirza

Shahbaz, 23, may be young but he's already achieved a great amount in his chosen sport of karate - representing his country at international championships.

Despite all of his achievements so far, the prospect of playing a part in the Queen's Baton Relay is something that he is excited about.

He said: "I feel honoured and humbled to be a part of the Baton Relay. For me, the Commonwealth Games represents pride, and harmony and legacy and to be a part of it is an unforgettable experience."

Shahbaz now mentors teenagers and is a member of Islamic Relief, organising all their fundraising events in Scotland.

He's currently in charge of the Youth Section of Ayrshire Central Mosque in Kilmarnock, and is often venturing around on different activities in the name of charity, notably a wild trek across the desert in 2010.

Kelsey Caldow

At 12-years-old Kelsey first attended Mend, a class to promote healthy living and eating habits for children above their ideal weight.

Image copyright Chris Watt

She's been a perfect role model in the success that followed, and she now assists in the running of several programmes, promotes further interest by giving talks at meetings and events and volunteers at kids' clubs.

She joined the East Ayrshire Council's volunteer database, where she delivered a series of health and wellbeing speeches and presentations to help people eat healthier.

Now aged 17, Kelsey said: "I am really honoured, humbled and excited to carry the baton, and feel that this is a fantastic reward for all the voluntary work I have done with Mend over the last six years!"

Emma Burns

Emma has already made a large effort in youth and community initiatives including guerrilla gardening, the local youth forum and peer education programmes.

She has already been awarded a Millennium Volunteer Award as well as a Young Quality Scot Award.

In her local LGBT youth group she is a great support to the younger members and is a living example of how life can get better for LGBT young people.

Her researching skills, humour and acting abilities have been instrumental in the production of the Inspiring Change LGBT project.

She said: "It's a great honour to have been selected to be part of the QBR, especially as the games are in Glasgow this year, a stone's throw from East Ayrshire, my local authority."

Laura Robertson

For years Laura has been heavily involved in fundraising for charities through voluntary work and sport activities.

In 2009 she ran the New York Marathon, helping raise £14,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

She recently won a UK citizenship award for her contribution to Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) promotion in the community.

When asked how she felt about taking part in the Queen's Baton Relay she said: "I feel very humbled to have the opportunity to run with the Commonwealth baton, especially through my home village. It's amazing to be involved in such a prestigious event which is wonderful for the local community."

After taking part in the relay, her next project will be to cycle from London to Paris later this year to raise finds for the Ayrshire Hospice.

Cillia McCleary

As a retired PE teacher, Cillia has always been passionate about sport and has run the local gymnastics club voluntarily in Strathaven for more than 20 years.

She has also coached hockey and netball in the local schools and community centres for many years, making her a well-known face in the community. She actively encourages children from all walks of life, and with all abilities, to participate in her clubs.

Her strong belief in community means that the chance to run with the baton is especially special to her.

She said: "I am delighted to be a baton bearer for the Commonwealth Games. It is an honour for me and I am humbled that people in my community think so highly of me that they nominated me."

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