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Games Baton heads for finishing line

22 July 2002

The Queen’s Jubilee Baton has arrived in Greater Manchester on the finishing straight of its marathon round-the-world trek.

Johnny Vegas

Comedian Johnny Vegas running with the Baton on 21 July

After being carried through Macclesfield and Knutsford on Saturday, it resumed its journey at Manchester Airport on Sunday morning.

Volunteers ran from Styal, through Wilmslow to Manchester Rugby Club in Bramhall where a crowd of more than 150 people welcomed the baton as it arrived at 9.20am, surrounded by a police convoy of 14 motorcycles, four Range Rovers and a car.

Among the runners, was Ian Ashcroft, the 56-year-old managing director of the Manchester Evening News. The Guardian Media Group, which owns the MEN, is a sponsor of the Games.

Mr Ashcroft said: “This is an opportunity to be involved in the Games. Things are now building up as the Games get closer and doing this means you can feel the atmosphere.’’

On Monday the baton will be carried through Bury, Heywood and Rochdale. On Wednesday, it will go through Smithy Bridge, Milnrow, Middleton, Chadderton, Oldham, Mossley, Stalybridge, Dukinfield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Droylsden before arriving in Manchester city centre for a night of celebration.

Some city centre roads will be closed from 2pm to 8pm on Wednesday as people line the route and enjoy a party hosted by Radio One’s Mark and Lard.

Ryan Giggs, Stuart Pearce, Coronation Street’s Tracy Shaw and Chris Bisson and Trevor Brooking will be among the celebrities carrying the baton on its final route to Albert Square

On the way to Manchester, the baton has been to national places of interest including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Windsor Castle, Hadrian’s Wall and Coventry Cathedral.

The baton will arrive at the Games opening ceremony on 25 July, where the queen will take her message from within it to officially open the XVII Commonwealth Games.

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