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The Queen's Jubilee Baton Relay *

A Baton for the 21st Century…

When we started our journey to design the Baton for The Queen’s Jubilee Baton Relay, our dream was to produce a ‘living’ object… something visionary… something that personified the humane philosophy of the Commonwealth Games, and the people of the United Kingdom.

The Baton

Side and front views of the Baton

The dream of a Baton for the 21st Century became a reality, after viewing the concepts from a selection of very talented UK design companies. Although difficult, we finally chose as our Baton designers a company called IDEO, who charmed us with their fresh ideas and whose overall philosophy was completely harmonious with our vision for the Baton.

The Baton is made of machined aluminium with the handle plated for conductivity and weighs 1.69 kg. Reaching more than 710mm in height and measuring 42.5mm to 85mm in diameter. The Queen’s message itself is held in an aluminium capsule inserted into the top of the Baton. By pressing down on the cap and turning, the capsule is released.

Inside the Baton, sensors detect and monitor the Runner’s pulse rate, conveying it to a series of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs), via a light behaviour module. The lens then transforms the LEDs into a dramatic blade of pulsating light.

The two sterling silver coins, which appear on either side of the Baton, celebrate the City of Manchester as host of the XVII Commonwealth Games. The Queen’s jeweller, Mappin and Webb generously designed the coins.

linford_christie with the baton

Linford Christie carrying the Baton

IDEO has managed to make the rhythm of a human heartbeat the core of their design. The Baton expresses both the uniqueness of the individual and the common rhythm of humanity. It evokes our collective consciousness, unity, energy and journey through life. The ‘pulse’, which is visible through a series of beating lights, responds to the rhythm of the Runner’s heartbeat. Putting it simply - as the electronic pulse synchronises with that of each new Runner, the Queen’s Jubilee Baton will absorb the very essence of human life.

The Baton will take its first ‘breath’ and begin to beat when it is handed to Her Majesty The Queen, on March 11 2002 at Buckingham Palace, for the start of The Queen’s Jubilee Baton Relay. It will continue ‘beating’ and conducting life until its journey’s end on 25 July 2002, when it reaches the City of Manchester Stadium for the start of the XVII Commonwealth Games. The final Runner will hand the Baton to The Queen, who will release the message from the Baton, and read it to the Commonwealth Nations and the rest of the watching world.

Di Henry, director of The Queen’s Jubilee Baton Relay said: “What I now have in my hands is the living embodiment of what I thought was just an unattainable idea. IDEO has taken a rough verbal concept and turned it into something quite remarkable – a magnificent gift for the whole of the UK. You really do have to see it to believe it.”

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