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Scottish Borders

Day 5.  Wednesday 18 June.

Today the Scottish Borders welcomed the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay on its fifth day journeying around the host nation.

The Borders is known for being a Scottish rugby stronghold, with Rugby Sevens being created in this part of the country. So it seemed fitting that this historic area of Scotland played host to the Queen’s Baton. 

It was an eventful day with trips to Duns, Tweedbank, Selkirk, Kelso and Melrose. The visit to Melrose, the home of Rugby 7s, included a stop at the town’s Rugby Stadium and the later home of Selkirk Rugby Football Club, before the relay concluded in Hawick’s High Street.

A street festival and evening celebration concluded the day in the Borders, with a packed programme of entertainment in Hawick’s High Street, providing a chance for Borders’ locals to welcome the batonbearers.

The influence rugby union has had on the region could be seen in the batonbearer selection. DunsRugby Club coach Peter Gallagher carried the baton through the eponymous town and Scottish rugby union players both past - Roy Laidlaw - and present – Lee Jones – joined in Jedburgh and Selkirk, respectively.

The sporting theme continued when the baton visited the acclaimed Mountain Mike Centre at Glentress, arguably one of the best bike centres in Britain. There the baton had a bumpy ride as it rumbled around some of the thrilling bike trails Glentress is famous for.

This region has produced some incredibly inspiring batonbearers.

Such as Alan Stewart, who received a life-saving kidney transplant five years ago, since then Alan has dedicated his time to raise awareness for organ donation, along with his wife Susan. Together, they have set the challenge of completing 50 physical challenges before they both turn 50.

Another courageous baton carrier was David Dempster, who has not let total blindness prevent him from running and raising money for charity, carried the baton in Duns. 

Taking part in Jedburgh was batonbearer Gemma Scott, a 21 year old who has battled through paralysis to coach children at her local athletics club and volunteer at the primary school.

Bill Watt, aged 91, is a founding member of The Border Ice Skating Club. Bill teaches children up to the age of 16 to figure skate.  Bill, currently President, still teaches children to skate, from complete beginners to advanced levels, as well as teaching the volunteer tutors new skills.  He interacts with the children, encouraging them every skate of the way, and also brings the tutors together with his infectious enthusiasm.

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10:00 Earlston

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Featured batonbearers

Thomas is a lower limb amputee from St. Lucia. He has lived in Scotland since 2004 and the Borders since 2007.He is a playing member of St. Boswell's Cricket club, and also coaches juniors. Thanks to his enthusiasm and commitment the club have had two successful tours to St. Lucia, and the junior section (which was on the point of collapse) has gone from strength to strength. With his example, a few youngsters who could have gone astray have now turned into decent young men.

Jean has worked tirelessly for charity and for the good of West Linton for many years. Jean volunteers her time as a sports coach in both Hockey and Badminton. She also volunteers with the Ambulance Service as First Responder, assists local organisations and gets involved in community projects. Despite the amount of her personal time she invests in the community, Jean receives nor asks for reward or financial benefit.

Aged 78, Christina has been involved with Scottish Athletics for 40 years, alongside her late husband John who passed away in September 2013. As an active member of Edinburgh Athletic Club, Christina supports and encourages young people to participate in athletics. She still travels the country with the club, volunteering her time both with the club and participating in the sport as a registered British Timekeeper.

Alan Stewart underwent a life-saving kidney transplant in 2009; since then he has been committed to raising awareness for organ donation through a number of sporting challenges from marathons and long-distance cycling events to open water swims. Alan has also competed at three British Transplant Games, winning a significant number of medals.

Following a riding accident, Maureen suffered from a collapsed lung, and then at various stages overcame pleurisy bronchitis and pneumonia. Maureen was also unfortunate enough to have a major fire in her house. Despite her adversity, Maureen set up a social networking running group "Run for Fun" in 2012 which now has over a community 1000 members.

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