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East Ayrshire

Day 8.  Saturday 21 June.

East Ayrshire today welcomed the Queen’s Baton as it travelled through the area, with a range of extraordinary batonbearers taking part in day 256 of the baton’s incredible journey through 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth as it makes its way towards host city Glasgow.

The route was packed with visits to East Ayrshire’s towns and villages as the relay team passed through Dalmellington, New Cumnock, Auchinleck, Galston, Stewarton, Crosshouse and ended Day 8 in Kilmarnock.

The East Ayrshire residents gave the Queen’s Baton a warm reception as it travelled the length and breadth of the county. The relay team were invited to join three local galas. Lainshaw Primary School and Annadale Gardens in Crosshouse were the latter two hosts, after the baton visited Dalmellington Sports Gala and paid homage at the statue of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns.

There were smiles all round when later in the day the Glasgow 2014 mascot, Clyde, paid a visit to the paediatric ward at Crosshouse hospital where he delighted the children in the ward by bringing the baton to their beds.

Ayrshire Athletics Arena was the next stop for the relay and Team Scotland coach Chick Hamilton had the honour of carrying the baton, before passing it to Kilmarnock Harrier Athletics Club stalwart Hugh Rankin.

East Ayrshire produced some remarkable characters to carry the baton. Like local celebrity Peter Lee who is aged 87. Hardy Peter survived a triple bypass and displays his gratitude for having his life back by running in half-marathons and collecting money for the British Heart Foundation. Peter even auditioned on the X Factor to help the BHF gain publicity but while his unique spoon clacking didn’t go down well with Cowell and Co, Peter’s spoon-clacking baton run got a huge cheer from East Ayrshire residents.

There must be something in the water or the region’s famous Killie Pies because the East Ayrshire batonbearers were a fearless bunch. George Scott, like many of the day’s runners, is a formidable force in local charity fundraising. George has skydived, ran the London marathon, ran the Edinburgh marathon, completed Tough Mudder and ran the Glasgow half-marathon all in the aid of Ayrshire Cancer support, raising thousands of pounds in the process.

East Ayrshire’s largest town, Kilmarnock brought the days proceedings to a close as local hero and Commonwealth Weightlifting Silver medallist Peter Kirkbride brought the baton on to the stage to climax a sensational day in East Ayrshire.

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09:25New Cumnock
10:20 Cumnock

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Featured batonbearers

A truly inspirational woman whom perfectly embodies the essence of vitality of the Commonwealth Games, 89 year old Betty has been immersed in both sports and charity fundraising for the whole of her life. She has been entertaining in-and-around the community of Stewarton since she was a young girl, and has been heavily involved in a variety of sports, including coaching netball and women’s football.

There’s good reason behind the decisions to award Emma with both a Millennium Volunteer Award and a Young Quality Scot Award; for years she has been involved in youth and community initiatives including guerrilla gardening, the local youth forum and peer education programmes. 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.

Registered blind, dyslexic and hearing-impaired for most of her life, 16 year old Gillian is an immensely strong individual, one who has fought against all odds to be a success in athletics. She secured a place with the Scottish Disability Sport national squad last year, and also won the East Ayrshire Disabled Sports Person of the Year Award last year. At the Sainsbury's 2013 UK School games Gillian was only one of four Scottish disable athletes to be selected for the Scotland Athletics team.

Peter is aged 87. After surviving a triple bypass, he is grateful to have his life back and now runs in half-marathons collecting money for charities, primarily the British Heart Foundation. He is also a volunteer for Chest, Heart and Stroke charity. As well as this, he has raised funds, - partly through his own donations - to buy mobility aids for the disabled. Having appeared on the X Factor for BHF publicity, Peter then became judge for a school competition.

For years Laura has been heavily-involved in fund-raising 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. With her enthusiasm and love for engineering, she visits primary and secondary schools, liaising with local colleges, promoting and advising on careers in engineering.

For charity work, George is a formidable force; he has recently sky-dived, completed the London Marathon, the Edinburgh Marathon, Tough Mudder, Coast-To-Coast and finished off his fundraising events for Ayrshire Cancer Support by completing the Glasgow half-marathon. Never one to do anything by halves, George has thrown everything into his charity work and has subsequently raised thousands of pounds for cancer charities in the process.

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