QBR runners

Pure pride at the heart of Queen's Baton Relay

Q Super
28th March 2018 12:00 AM

We have joined forces with QSuper, Official Supporter of the Queen's Baton Relay, to bring you the inspiring stories of the Queensland batonbearers.    

Beginning at Buckingham Palace in London on March 13, 2017, the Queen's Baton Relay will have traversed 230,000km when it arrives at Main Beach on the Gold Coast on April 4, making it the longest and most accessible Queen's Baton Relay in history.  

Among the batonbearers in this historic event are QSuper members from across Queensland, nominated for their life-long community contributions.  

Here, we meet four of those members and hear their stories of civic pride and dedication.     

Luke Wenitong

Cairns resident Luke Wenitong is looking forward to carrying the Queen's Baton in front of his children, to show them  they can make a difference.

Luke Wenitong
Luke Wenitong can't wait to do his kids proud. Contributed

Luke has worked for years to deliver education and wellbeing to Indigenous people in Far North Queensland, but his proudest achievement is running a marathon to raise awareness about depression and anxiety. 

"I previously worked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on Palm Island, Cape York and the Torres Strait Islands, training people in digital literacy and helping communities to set up knowledge centres," the 41-year-old says.

"Now, through Red Cross, I help bring people from remote communities to Cairns for medical treatment. I also manage two centres in West Cairns that run activities for kids and adults, like holiday and after-school care and connecting people with services."

Luke was the first person in his family to run a marathon, when he ran the Melbourne Marathon to raise awareness about depression and anxiety and  raise money for Beyond Blue.

"It was a personal journey for me and also a way for me to encourage others to seek help and connect with people. A lot of people around me have been affected by depression and anxiety and I wanted to spread the word about the services Beyond Blue provides to people who are struggling," Luke says.

"When I carry the Baton I will be running near my children's primary school. It's very meaningful to me to be able to show my children and nieces and nephews you can be a positive role model and do good things in the community.

"My personal philosophy is we're all the same, we should all be there for each other and get out and help each other when we can. 

"I hope the Baton relay encourages individuals and organisations to work together and inspires community pride; that can only be a good thing."  

 

Kerri Forno 

Kerri Forno can't wait to carry the Queen's Baton along Mossman St, Charters Towers, in front of her whole community.  

Kerri Forno
Charters Towers local Kerri Forno is all about volunteering in her community. Contributed

Kerri, 46, is treasurer of the P&C and fete co-ordinator at the school where she works, and she organises the Goldfield Ashes Cricket Carnival every Australia Day long weekend involving 250 teams. 

"The Goldfield Ashes brings about 3000 people to Charters Towers which shows off the area and boosts the economy," Kerri says.

"We have a great community that we're all really proud of and I'm an organiser, I like being involved and helping out."

The QSuper member says she was "speechless" when she discovered she had been nominated as a baton bearer by the deputy principal at her school.

"The Commonwealth Games is about diversity and they have brought that theme into the selection of batonbearers. The group is so diverse, all ages and a wide range of contributions. To be selected to be part of this feels amazing. I can't wait until I'm holding the Baton."

The Queen's Baton has travelled all the way from London to get to Queensland, and that journey means a lot to Kerri.    

"It's fantastic that the Baton is coming through a small town like Charters Towers. Something so important and significant is coming to our town and I have the thrill of touching the Baton and carrying it. It is such an honour. 

"I think that's what I'm looking forward to most, the experience of holding the Baton which has travelled around the world."  

 

Joyce Press

For Joyce Press carrying the Queen's Baton along Herbert St, Ingham, is a chance to showcase her community on the world stage. 

Joyce Press
Sport and volunteering have always been a part of life for Joyce Press. Contributed

Sport and volunteering have always been a big part of Joyce's life, so being part of the Queen's Baton Relay is a proud highlight in a career of giving. 

"I don't see volunteering as work. When you're doing something you're passionate about, it's not a chore. You don't mind how much time you spend on it because it's not work," the 71-year-old says.

"As a teacher, I was involved in school sport throughout my career, I was secretary of the local primary school sports and organised trials and carnivals, I'm still secretary.

"I've also played netball all my life and been involved in the administration side. I just love doing it. It's all good fun."

I played until last year when I turned 70. I don't have a big drive to win, I enjoy the sportsmanship and the fun we have as a team."

Joyce has also made 270 donations to the blood bank and now donates almost every two weeks.

"The blood bank always came to the teachers' college when I was a student and I just kept donating after I left college. About 10 years ago I started donating plasma and I do that almost every two weeks."

As a retired school teacher Joyce continues to share her knowledge and time, teaching computer literacy at her local library. 

"I teach the students what they want to learn. It's voluntary so we don't follow a strict program, we just have fun and I let the students guide what I teach them. 

"I am really proud to be carrying the Queen's Baton but also I'm a bit self-conscious, I'm not keen on the limelight.

"The Queen's Baton is about inclusivity and that is something we try to do in sport, to involve as many people as possible. 

"I think it's really good to showcase Ingham on the world stage and show our community pride."  

 

Robyn Bowering

Rural Fire Service officer Robyn Bowering is proud of her community and can't wait to be part of the Queen's Baton Relay as it passes along Ash St in Barcaldine.

"It's great that the Baton is coming to Barcaldine; any recognition of Western Queensland is fantastic, any publicity that shows our proud community is great," 53-year-old Robyn, says.

"It's a different world out here, we get together, we pull together. We have a strong sense of community.

Robyn Bowering and Mark Tysoe First Officer of Ilfracombe Rural Fire Brigade who has also been chosen as a baton bearer.
Robyn Bowering and Mark Tysoe First Officer of Ilfracombe Rural Fire Brigade who has also been chosen as a baton bearer. Contributed

"Barcaldine is an amazing place. I love it, we have a population of about 1000 people and it's all about community."

Robyn has been with the Rural Fire Service for 19 years, working with volunteers as a training and support officer. 

"I train volunteers and volunteer myself as secretary of a brigade and I'm on a few committees.

I'm proud to be involved and keep everyone in the community included but I don't think I do anything out of the ordinary - so many people give their time. 

"I was shocked when I found out I was nominated (as a batonbearer) and then to find out a friend is passing me the Baton; it doesn't get any better than this. 

"There's a lot of community pride out here and the Baton coming through town is bringing the whole community together. 

"I'm excited about the event; it's all wonderful. I just hope I don't fall over!"      

QSuper is an Official Supporter of the Queen's Baton Relay. Improve your financial wellbeing with QSuper's simple check-up.