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Kirsty Mackay From Thurso Will Carry The Queen's Baton

1st April 2014

Highlanders learn they are to carry Queen's Baton in biggest Thank-You Scotland has ever seen.

People across the Highlands will learnt they are carrying the Queen's Baton, a thank-you from communities all across Scotland to the extraordinary individuals who make a positive difference to the lives of others.

Up to 4,000 batonbearers from all 32 Local Authorities will join the relay in more than 400 communities for 40 days, in what is the most engaging relay the nation has ever seen.

For the first time in the history of any relay, all 545 secondary schools in Scotland were invited to nominate a pupil to participate as a batonbearer.

Community batonbearers have been selected by independent panels, who have considered people’s achievements against the odds, their mentoring of young people, contributions to community and youth sport, and those who make a difference through volunteering and community support.

Convener of The Highland Council, Councillor Jimmy Gray has chaired the panel for the Highlands. He said: “The Queen’s Baton journey has been developed to share the excitement of the countdown to the Commonwealth Games with as many people as possible. I want to congratulate all the selected batonbearers for their determination, courage and selflessness in different walks of life, and their commitment to helping others. It is fantastic that they are being recognised and rewarded with a coveted place in the Highland ’s leg of the Queens Baton Relay and we thank them for their enthusiasm and support.”

Highland Community batonbearers include:

Gordon Millar

Gordon is a Judo coach in the Highland area mainly Invergordon. Not only has he given time coaching every week for all these years, he and his wife have taken competitors all over Britain to competitions and grading sessions. He has improved the sport’s popularity in the Highland Region and has helped to develop some of the best judo athletes in Britain from very modest beginnings.

Betty MacLachlan

[Ms MacLaughlin has taught at Spean Bridge Primary school for more years than anyone cares to remember! Throughout she has not only been an excellent teacher to the all who have passed through her care, she has also run Badminton after school clubs. These clubs are open to children of all abilities. My son was diagnosed with dyspraxia before we moved to the area, and she has encouraged him to go to her badminton classes, which have helped him to build upper body strength, which in turn has helped him with his writing in class. ]

[Betty as Primary teacher in SpeanBridge has inspired generations. She has high expectations and motivates all to realise full potential, devoting her own time for extra tuition. Pupils leave ready to embrace the world, her influences go far beyond the academic. She installs values of healthy lifestyle pride in achievements. She was a very energetic shinty youth coach and runs several post school sports clubs. She is constant for her pupils even through her health scare and caring for her mother. This would be a significant way for community to mark her retirement next year]

[I would love to nominate Betty Maclachlan or rather 'Miss' for the queen's baton relay. She is an inspiring teacher at Spean Bridge Primary school. She has taught 2 of my children, providing them and many years of children with a wonderful education. But also engaging with them on many levels. At present at age 60 she is running badminton classes after school on 3 nights! She has had a long and wonderful career in Spean Bridge, there is a rumour she may be retiring soon and what better tribute than to nominate her with love and thanks from the community.]

Michael Dixon

After growing up outside Fort William, Michael Dixon took up the sport of biathlon aged eighteen. However, he defied his late entry to the sport through hard work to compete at six Olympic Games and become regarded as Britain's greatest ever biathlete. Since retiring in 2002 he has set up the Cairngorm Biathlon Club, the only civilian biathlon club in Scotland. He has put countless time effort and money into the club and has provided a pathway for several youngsters, myself included, to achieve success in biathlon, a pathway which would not be there without him.

Kirsty Mackay

Living in Thurso with her family, Kirsty enjoys swimming (particularly open water), running and encouraging others to take part in sport. Her eldest daughter, Emma's swimming club was in danger of folding due to lack of lifeguards - Kirsty trained and is now poolside at 7:30am every Saturday morning. Just over a year ago Kirsty's 7yr old son was inspired to run the Mey mile, Kirsty persuaded the organisers to let this be sponsored & his 5 yr old sister also ran raising over £2k

David Smith

Dave is a Paralympic gold medalist from 2012, after this he wanted to "inspire a generation" by visiting every school in the area. Well over 1000 children got to hold the medal and ask questions. He is now an ambassador for many sports and spends a lot of his time mentoring others. He is a selfless and positive and leads by example.

Charles Forbes

Charlie has been a dedicated coach to many athletes. He has coached and encouraged them to a high level in their sport and many have achieved international recognition and one of his previous athletes has now competed on a world stage. He has committed himself to thousands of hours of coaching voluntarily in all weathers. He has also managed teams of athletes, travelling thousands of miles all over the country and abroad with his athletes all in his own time.

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