Commonwealth Games North East Batonbarers Confirmed!
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games has today confirmed the inspirational people from communities across the North East who will take on the role of Batonbearer in the Queen’s Baton Relay this summer.
The Queen’s Baton will spend two days in the North East of England on 14 - 15 July, marking the start of the two week countdown to Birmingham 2022. The successful Batonbearers have been specially selected to represent the North East and carry the Baton through local communities.
On its tour of Commonwealth nations and territories, the Queen’s Baton will arrive back in England on 2 June 2022 for a four-day visit to London, coinciding with The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Central Weekend, before resuming the international journey. It later returns to England on 4 July to commence a 25-day tour across all remaining regions. The Relay will culminate at the Alexander Stadium on 28 July for the Opening Ceremony, where the Queen’s Message will be read aloud, signifying the official start of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The confirmation of Batonbearers comes following the public nomination campaign in January 2022, from which approximately 8,000 nominations for were submitted. The callout was for inspirational people in England who met the selection criteria:
Always willing to take on a challenge and has a unique and inspiring story;
Has made a meaningful contribution to sport, education, the arts, culture, or charity;
Is a figure of inspiration that positively challenges others to achieve their best;
Has taken on a challenge or cause and made a positive impact within their community
Nominations were reviewed by regional selection panels made up of representatives from youth organisations, charities, universities, community leaders, and representatives from Local Authorities.
Batonbearers have been selected in all nine regions of England and embody the diversity in communities across the country. From local heroes to inspirational school children, the Batonbearers come from all walks of life, backgrounds and vary in age - with children as young as 12 taking part - and each take on issues that matter most to them.
Today, Nicola Wood from the North East joined other confirmed community Batonbearers at the Alexander Stadium, where the Relay will reach its finale following a month of celebrations cross the country.
Each Batonbearer has been notified on which day and in which region they will carry the Baton, which will be on one of the following dates:
London – Thursday 2 June – Monday 6 June
South West – Monday 4 July – Tuesday 5 July
South East – Wednesday 6 July – Thursday 7 July
East of England – Friday 8 July – Saturday 9 July
East Midlands – Sunday 10 July – Monday 11 July
Yorkshire & The Humber – Tuesday 12 July – Wednesday 13 July
North East – Thursday 14 July – Friday 15 July
North West – Saturday 16 July – Sunday 17 July
West Midlands – Monday 18 July – Thursday 28 July
Further details of Queen’s Baton Relay route will be revealed in May 2022.
Nicola Wood is a hairdresser from Sunderland and the owner of successful salon business Kitui, specialising in hair, and wigs. As a woman living with rheumatoid arthritis, her medication has caused her various struggles and side effects including hair loss for many years.
Following a diagnosis of breast cancer at just age 36 and the discovery of poor services for those with hair loss, she expanded her business to support those needing wigs and created a safe space and support network for those facing cancer and hair loss.
Throughout her cancer treatment, she researched the whole wig industry and started a second business, The Wonderful Wig Company. Nicola expanded the floor space of her salon to create a purpose-built support studio for clients in the area with hair loss and has since supported over 10,000 people. The Wonderful Wig Company now employs 11 people and has secured national contracts with the NHS to support people with hair loss all over the country. The small team now have their own range of wigs specific to the needs of their clients, designed and unique to them.
Nicola describes herself as “a hairdresser for one day a week and spends the rest of the week trying to change the world for people with cancer and hair loss”.
Her company is the recipient of a host of awards including those for corporate social responsibility, special recognition, Entrepreneur for Good, and Best Wig Supplier UK. The salon is also recognised by the Little Princess Trust charity globally, as one of their 17 Gold Salons.
Most recently, Nicola has expanded her company’s remit, providing wigs and positive body image support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Nicola has set up a non-profit company called the “Inclusion Hair Network” whose mission is “to provide and promote inclusion for all within the hair and beauty sector”.
The salon runs wellness events and workshops online and in person enabling boosted confidence and to live life with a renewed sense of emotional wellbeing.
In addition to her salon work, Nicola also visits hospitals and hospices to deliver talks on wellbeing to those who are vulnerable and sick. Nicola is an inspiration; she has turned her diagnosis not only into a positive for herself but has also reached many communities and individuals with her passion and drive to make a change.
As Nicola copes with ongoing health difficulties, she will use her recovery time, when she can’t physically work or when mobility is difficult, to study. This year will complete her qualification as a Trichologist, a scalp and hair specialist.
Nicola has been chosen as a Batonbearer as somebody that is always willing to take on a challenge and has a unique and inspiring story.
Nicola Wood said “It is such an honour to have been selected as a Batonbearer and to represent the North East in the Queen’s Baton Relay. I hope that as a Batonbearer I will be able to inspire other business owners to take action and create a positive impact to their community!”
The Baton is currently visiting the Cayman Islands, which is the Baton’s 50th destination out of 72. In the last 30 days, the Baton has visited Australia, Belize, Guyana, Grenada, The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.
For more information on the Queen’s Baton Relay, visit www.birmingham2022.com/qbr.