Two Thanet people have been among those to be baton bearers in The Queen’s Baton Relay through Kent yesterday (July 7).
Birmingham 2022 is hosting the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay – a journey which brings together and celebrates communities across the Commonwealth.
The Queen’s Baton Relay is travelling the length and breadth of England for a total of 29 days, before culminating at the Opening Ceremony for Birmingham 2022 on 28 July.
The Baton spent four days in London, coinciding with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Weekend, and then resumed its journey, arriving in Kent yesterday.
Westgate resident Wilfred Jenkins took on two allotted slots in Deal, carrying the baton along the prom at Walmer.
Wilfred, who is deaf and autistic, has become a bit of a Thanet celebrity through his attendance at isle events, charity fundraising, volunteering and social media posts which include regular sign language videos.
He was nominated to be a baton bearer by mum Charlotte, who wrote: “Wilfred is my son, he is 25. He nearly died at two weeks of age when he suffered unexplained fits. He was diagnosed as profoundly deaf aged 2 and a quarter. Shortly before his fifth birthday he found his Dad dead. Aged 13 he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and Waardenburg syndrome.
“After spending time in a shared supported living home he now lives alone. He works with and supports a lot of charities. To be able to carry the baton would be a great honour for him.”
Yesterday Wilfred was accompanied by his mum Charlotte, support worker Sid, ‘mums’ Angela and Lorraine who have sons Oliver and Samuel and are part of the Kent Downs Syndrome group where Wilfred volunteers.
Friend Jake Chapman also went along and videoed Wilfred’s part in the relay. Wilfred was also accompanied by his ‘Percy the pig.’
Wilfred said: “At first I was really nervous because I wasn’t comfortable being around lots of people. But I did it and I am so proud I have overcome my fears. I had my support staff Sid with me supporting me and I did it so well.”
Mum Charlotte added: “I was very emotional. It was so nice to see so many people had come to see him and call his name out. I’d like to thank Natalie for driving us to Deal and to Wilf’s support worker Sid for being his interpreter. I’m a very proud Mumma Bear.”
Jake said: “I’ve known Wilfred and his mum Charlotte, for few months now. In this time I have seen Wilfred participate in lots of charity events. It was an absolute pleasure watching as Wilfred was parading along Deal Promenade carrying the “Queen’s Baton” with such pride and enthusiasm.
“He has done so much for the local community and has made such a difference to people’s lives by bringing laughter and respect and showing great kindness towards all.”
King Ethelbert student Taylor Cunningham, 13, also took part in the baton relay yesterday.
Taylor (and Lewes based Diggs English) were nominated by The Sports Trust for “their positive and inspirational contributions to our charity and their commitments to the local skateboarding landscape”
The nomination added: “As Ambassadors of The Sports Trust, Tay and Diggs are dedicated to growing participation in skateboarding amongst young people. Representing our charity values, the two demonstrate kindness and equality in all that they do.”
The Year 8 student was part of the relay in Folkestone at the new F51 Skatepark where he showed off his skills to skate the baton around the bowl.
Tay started skating at the age of 4 and entered his first jam aged 5 where he won in the U7’s category.
Since then has skated all over the UK, visiting skateparks from Inverness through to Cornwall, participating in various jams and events.
Notable achievements to date: 2022 UK Independent Vert Series (Group B) Round 2 Blackpool-1st place
2022 UK Independent Vert Series (Group B) Round 1 Skaterham-1st place
2022 4th place Graystone Bowl Champs
2022 XC National Championships, placed 13th
2019 NASS Festival – Gold Medal – Mens Open Mini Ramp Champs
2018 Wheels & Fins – Gold Medal – British Mini Ramp Champs
Tay mostly skates Bowl and Vert. His current favourite trick is a tweak stalefish and current dream trick to learn is a Kickflip540.
He currently works at Revolution Skatepark in Broadstairs teaching skateboarding lessons. To see him in action visit his instagram page @tayrayskates.
This morning the Baton travelled to Gravesham for a multi-faith moment of contemplation outside the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara before being handed over to the Eastern region by crossing the Thames from the town pier.