Ritchie Donovan feels proud to be acknowledged

DOUBLE FLAME: Ritchie Donovan is honoured to follow his Olympic torch run with this Commonwealth Games one.
DOUBLE FLAME: Ritchie Donovan is honoured to follow his Olympic torch run with this Commonwealth Games one.

Currently in the Cook Islands, the baton bearing the Queen’s message is 127 days away from the grand finale on the Gold Coast for the XXI Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on 4 April, 2018. 

It is however only weeks away from arriving in Australia, when the countdown will begin to its moment in Macksville on February 2.

Among those locals who will take it on its run around the CBD are much-loved sports facilitator Ritchie Donovan, passionate sports fan David Walker and dedicated sports administrator Anthony Miles.

For Ritchie the honour is especially sweet as it gives him the double, having run in the Olympic Baton Relay in Coffs Harbour in 2000.

“I spend a lot of my time giving – I love this valley and the kids here, sharing sport with them is my passion, so this acknowledgement is special and best of all, this time I get to run in my hometown.

“This really feels like the top … if I don’t win anything else now, it won't matter.”

READY TO RUN: David Walker is set to take off on his relay leg

READY TO RUN: David Walker is set to take off on his relay leg

In David Walker’s case, his carers nominated the Nambucca Heads-based Phoenix worker and he is bursting with excitement. 

“It will be very special to run in this – I’ve seen them do it on tv, I watched Cathy Freeman do it … I love sport, especially cricket and I am training at the gym,” David said.

Anthony Miles said being given the baton guernsey is “an absolute privilege”.

“It is a dream come true for any sports person,” Anthony said.

“I’ve played multiple sports over the years but now I am more involved in the administrative side of things, helping community sports keep their clubs going. 

“Without someone making a club, sport doesn’t exist.”

He said the local event was a wonderful way to bring the community together – “it helps create good vibes”.

TAKING IT TO THE STREETS: The Queen's Baton Relay will run through the streets of Macksville on February 2, 2018.

TAKING IT TO THE STREETS: The Queen's Baton Relay will run through the streets of Macksville on February 2, 2018.

The Macksville leg of the Relay heads up Wallace St, turns left into Boundary St, then along Princess St and through the CBD before finishing at the Macksville Memorial Aquatic and Fitness Centre at 10:15 am.  

The community celebration will be short with details still being finalised. Local school students will most likely take part.

Upon arriving at the Gold Coast, the Queen’s Baton will be given to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, who will remove Her Majesty’s message and read it aloud to declare the Games officially open.

Phillip Lane is the other member of the shire’s team.

Joining them will be:

Charlie Brenton, Peter and Trudi Needs and Sheryl Pearson from South West Rocks, John Clancy from Coffs Harbour and John Croll from Putney.

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