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Winston's memories of Queen's Baton Relay

Published date: 27 May 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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THE arrival of the Queen's Baton Relay in Wales has brought memories flooding back for the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner.

Winston Roddick was chosen to carry the baton for the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games on its journey to the stadium in Cardiff.

He recalled the silver-gilt and enamel baton was decorated with a red dragon, daffodils and leeks, along with crowns representing its royal connection.  

A total of 664 athletes, including 32 schoolboys, were involved in the relay covering more than 600 miles over almost four days.

The run continued day and night, with seniors used in dense traffic conditions and, if possible, from midnight to 6am. In North Wales the message passed through Llangollen, Wrexham, Flint, Llandudno and Caernarfon.

Following a trumpet fanfare and six-gun salute, the final leg runner entered Cardiff Arms Park to complete the relay.

The athlete’s identity was a closely guarded secret and rapturous applause rang out from the 40,000 spectators when he was revealed as former Wales rugby player and Olympic silver sprint relay medalist Ken Jones .

It was considered a “great honour” for Mr Roddick, then a sixth form pupil of Sir Hugh Owen Grammar School, Caernarfon.

Carrying the baton in 1958 remains a vivid memory, as it makes its way through Wales on its journey to Scotland for the Commonwealth Games this year.

“It was at Cardiff on the occasion of the British Empire and Commonwealth Games – as it was then called – that it was announced that Prince Charles would become Prince of Wales and would be invested as such at Caernarfon castle,” he said. “That was the message which was carried in the Queen’s baton to the opening ceremony of the games.

“The baton began its journey at Buckingham Palace but the Welsh leg began in north Wales. I carried it out of Caernarfon on its next leg of the journey. I was chosen because I was the best ‘miler’ at the school. I received a letter and a certificate from the organisers of the Games acknowledging my contribution.”

The baton will today be carried through Laugharne, Carmarthen and Llanelli and on Friday it will come to Moel Famau and Llandegla.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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