Commonwealth Games Baton 1958
Prior to the commencement of the 6th British Empire and Commonwealth Games at Cardiff in 1958 Queen Elizabeth II issued a message which was contained within a gold baton. The baton was relayed from Buckingham Palace and around Wales by a team of relay runners and the message was read at the Opening Ceremony of the Games.
Carrying the baton through Llanelli was a group of runners from Llanelli Boys' Grammar School and their sports teacher Mr Dai Smith. Neville Griffiths and Graham Phillips of the 'Harriers' took charge of the baton at Kidwelly where it was seen safely past the RAF Base at Pembrey before going through Burry Port, Pwll, Llanelli and on to Llwynhendy. The team of cross country runners included Alan Davies, Haydn Rees, Keith Davies, Geraint Davies and Michael Jones.
Some of the notable spectators watching the change over at the Town Hall in Llanelli were the Mayor T. Glanville Williams (Headmaster of Coleshill Secondary School) and Mr Selwyn Samuel the Town Clerk.
John Hughes who is a member of Llanelli Community Heritage's Advisory Panel, also took part in the historic event. He also carried the baton as a young lad and he now carries on with a personal narrative of his experience...
I was fortunate to be selected at the age of 16 years to be one of those relay runners, representing Bishop Gore Grammar School in Sketty Swansea.
It is now a very long time ago, but I can well remember waiting outside the Newspaper Shop on Fforestfach Square at about 2 am in the morning awaiting the arrival of the baton from the preceding team of relay runners.
The Mayor of Swansea was present and it was he who handed me the baton to commence our stint which was from the Square in Fforestfach to the Palace Theatre in central Swansea. It was rather an easy journey as it was all downhill, and I can remember passing the baton around to the other three runners in order that they too had the opportunity to participate in the carrying of the baton.
It all went smoothly and I handed the baton over to the next team of relay runners outside the Palace Theatre, the route was to continue through the Landore area of Swansea and onwards to Cardiff.
To commemorate my contribution I was presented with a Certificate by the Organising Committee of the Games, a photograph of this is contained in this feature.
Recently I was reunited with the baton when during a prearranged visit to the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff I was fortunate to be photographed with the baton that I had carried some 56 years previously. It was quite an emotional moment. A photograph of this is also included in this feature.
I believe that the baton will now be taken to St Fagans National History Museum where it will form part of a display depicting great Welsh Sporting Moments. If this is so then I shall certainly visit the Museum to once again re live some very special moments.