Commonwealth fever hits Montrose

Robert Provan brings the baton to Montrose Sports Centre
Robert Provan brings the baton to Montrose Sports Centre

The community of Montrose turned out in their numbers to welcome Her Majesty’s the Queen’s Baton Relay to the town.

Despite the wet weather the people of Angus gathered in their thousands across the county to catch a piece of the Commonwealth action as the baton makes its way across Scotland ahead of the Games.

The spirit of the Home Games made its way through Angus to Montrose on Saturday (June 28), passing 
through Monifieth, Carnoustie, Easthaven, Arbroath, Forfar, Glamis, Kirriemuir and Brechin, for a special celebration at the town’s sport centre where it was handed over to Aberdeenshire.

Crowds lined the streets of Montrose as the baton snaked its way through the burgh coming in from North Esk Road and making its way to the end of day celebrations via Murray Street, the High Street, George Street, Panmure Place and Academy Square.

The Montrose baton bearers were Lathallan School, Johnshaven, pupil Matthew Gordon; PC Ally Hutchison; Montrose golf professional Jason Boyd; HM 
Coastguard officer Scott Constantine; Jean Stevenson, volunteer at Montrose Tennis Club; Montrose and District Athletics coach Colin Christie, Niamh McGlynn and bowling veteran Robert Provan.

As Mr Provan carried the baton into the sports centre grounds it was piped in by Craig Weir of Carnoustie Celtic rock band Gleadhraich, who had written and performed an upbeat piece to mark Angus’ contribution to the Glasgow 2014 legacy called ‘Skirling Ska’.

The piece is a ska-infused tune featuring their friends Jordan Robertson on trombone, Ewan Barrack on saxophone and Kerr Barrack on djembe.

Ian Gaul, leader of Angus Council, then formally handed over the baton to Aberdeenshire.

At the event he said: “What a fantastic day this has been in Angus! It’s been a day of celebration and community spirit. A day where we’ve had the chance to honour and cheer our local baton bearers – all of whom have been selected for the superb contribution they make to Angus life and haven’t they done us proud?

“Today has been a day to remember. You are all now part of one of the longest relays ever seen. You are part of a global celebration involving over a third of the world’s population!

“On its way to us today this very baton has passed through thousands of hands in 70 Commonwealth nations and territories.

“Angus is honoured to have been part of today’s baton relay and we are proud to be a venue for the twentieth Commonwealth Games.”

While the baton was making its way through Angus to Montrose, eight teams battled it out over six games on Saturday for the coveted Montrose Emergency Services Group (MESG) It’s A Knockout toilet seat and shield on the Montrose Sports Centre field.

They were Montrose Air Cadets, GE Oil and Gas, Tesco, Scotmid, Rossie Trust, Police Scotland, Energie Fitness Gym and Montrose Sports Centre.

The Montrose Sports Centre team were crowned the 2014 champions, narrowly beating Police Scotland on the last game to claim the toilet seat.

MESG chairman Ally Hutchison said: “Its A Commonwealth Knockout 2014 was a fantastic event. The concise planning and preparation enabled this year’s games to be more dynamic and slick. We worked in partnership with Sports Development to coincide with the Queen’s Baton Relay event at Montrose Sports Centre and wish to thank Julie Aitken and her team for their help on the day.

“We would also like to thank Graham Sutton, Johnny Miller, Lee McLean, Debbie and Aidan and everyone else who came along and supported the event. Supporting the community is what we do and we are already focusing on the next event. From all of us at team MESG thank you for your continued support and we hope to see you all again for Its A Knockout 2015.”

The MESG chairman, who was also a baton bearer, added: “The whole experience was so surreal. I am so honoured to have been chosen and thank my nominees once again. It is a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.”

More than 30 stalls and activities were available for visitors on Saturday afternoon at the sports centre and a collection was taken at the gate for five-year-old Montrose boy Aidan Thompson, who has a rare neurological disorder that affects his ability to speak and move freely.

A total of £901 was raised for Aidan and all 48 competitors were presented with participation medals by the youngster. Alongside the gate collection, the Police Scotland and Montrose Sports Centre teams were sponsored during the event and Tesco held a collection and fund-raising events within their Montrose store to raise money for Aidan.

His mum Debbie said: “Thank you to everyone who battled the weather and came out to support Aidan and the It’s A Knockout teams. Aidan had a really good day and enjoyed handing out the medals. His dad, uncle and auntie were in the Rossie Trust team.”