Two inspirational Great Yarmouth women to carry Queen's baton

Sophie McKinna and Melissa Ross

Great Yarmouth's Sophie McKinna and Melissa Ross will both be carrying the baton as part of the Queen's Baton Relay for the Commonwealth Games. - Credit: Archant / Brain Tumour Research

Two inspirational women from Great Yarmouth will be carrying the Queen's Baton along the town's Golden Mile as the build-up to the Commonwealth Games gathers pace.

The Queen's Baton Relay will arrive at the Venetian Waterways from 10am on Saturday, July 9.

After being welcomed by the mayor of the borough Graham Plant, the bearers will carry the baton along the Golden Mile, taking in Joyland and the new £26m Marina Centre before finishing at the Sea Life Centre around 10.45am.

The public is invited to come along and cheer those carrying the baton, including Sophie McKinna and Melissa Ross.

The 25-year-old juggles two jobs with her training, Picture: PA

Sophie McKinna will be one of five batonbearers in Great Yarmouth for the Commonwealth Games. - Credit: Archant

Miss McKinna is a 28-year-old Olympian shot putter from the town. She won gold at the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games and placed fifth at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

She said: “Having the baton in Great Yarmouth is a huge honour.

"I am Great Yarmouth born and bred, so I am very excited to have this opportunity. The town is very special to me, as it is where I started my athletics career.

“I am very much looking forward to having my family and friends support me carrying the baton. 

“The town has always been very supportive of my sporting achievements and I am very happy to be once again representing my town and country at the upcoming games.”

Melissa Ross in her Commonwealth outfit

Melissa Ross, who has an inoperable low-grade brainstem and spinal cord glioma, was "shocked" to find out she had been nominated to carry the Queen's Baton ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. - Credit: Brain Tumour Research

Miss Ross is a 31-year-old mother from Great Yarmouth. At 24 she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour on her brainstem, which had an irreversible impact on her mobility. 

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She said: “I want to do all I can to help raise more awareness of this disease.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I feel so honoured to be a part of it. I will be most proud to have my family and friends there as they have been my biggest support through everything.

“Our whole family is really into sports and we always watch things like the Olympic Games so I’m sure we’ll be watching parts of this year’s Commonwealth Games too, especially after the excitement of being involved in the relay.”

The Queen's baton will complete a route around the UK in the coming months

The Queen's baton has been on a route around the UK in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games. - Credit: Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Gam

Three other people will carry the baton in the relay in Great Yarmouth - 23-year-old Jordan Catchpole,  a Paralympian swimmer from Beccles, Rebecca Wicks, a 44-year-old headteacher of a complex needs school from Norwich and Ricky Hawkins, a 31-year-old teacher from Norwich.