One year ago today, the eyes of the world were on Gold Coast, Australia, as the opening ceremony for Commonwealth Games began. The centrepiece for this celebration was the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay, which had travelled across all 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth to bring a message from Elizabeth II to mark the start of the 21st Games.
The Queen’s message had been placed into the Baton at a special event at Buckingham Palace in March 2017 and over the course of the following 13 months, the Relay made its way across the world. Myself and friend and colleague Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert were privileged to document in photographs and videos the Relay’s progress as it made its long and winding way to Gold Coast. The year-long adventure allowed me to work in all five continents and visit places and meet people in many and varied locations from the Amazon Basin and the Falkland Islands in South America, to the Namibian Bush and the Indian Ocean in Africa, the Taj Mahal and Singapore in Asia, the Channel Islands and Malta in Europe and culminating in a three month road trip all around Australia.
Logistically, the Queen’s Baton Relay was an enormous undertaking for everyone who worked on the project. These few selected photos show what we saw: they cannot give the full picture of what it took to get them. Hot days, long flights, endless roads. But worth every twist, turn and bump. It was unforgettable in so many ways: part adventure, part exploration, part public relations. I met many people who have become friends and brought back so many stories and memories which will endure.
The Commonwealth consists of a collection of countries, many of which face ongoing social, economic and environmental challenges. It’s difficult to be blind to the fact that life is dangerous and hard for many of the citizens of the Commonwealth. But for a short time, as the Baton passed through thousands of hands, there was only laughter and smiles. And for that alone, it was worth it.
For a wider selection of images from my work on the Queen’s Baton Relay click on the following links: