A humbling experience

COMMUNITY and sporting leaders have described the honour of running with the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay on Friday as a humbling experience.

Twenty-three people – all who have excelled in either serving their community, within their career or through sport – were given the honour of carrying the baton, containing a message from Queen Elizabeth II that will be read out at the games' opening ceremony on April 4.

Residents and family members of those fortunate enough to be selected lined the streets of Kerang and Murrabit as the Shire of Gannawarra hosted the 53rd day of the Australian relay.

The majority of those featured in the relay had links to the local area – ranging from former Gannawarra Shire Council Citizens and Young Citizens of the Year, sporting and community leaders to those who have made their mark nationally and internationally.

"Those who ran shows you the quality of people we have living in the shire," Gannawarra mayor, Cr Brian Gibson said.

"All of these people are clearly recognised by their own community to carry the baton because it is that significant."

Celebrations began in the morning at Murrabit Group School – the smallest of the 17 locations the relay passed through during its eight-day leg through Victoria.

The school visit – which is a feature of the start of each week-day leg – was the only national leg to coincide with a community celebration, with Lake Charm Primary School students and residents gathering to recognise the 10 baton bearers.

Thirteen baton bearers had their moment of honour later in the day throughout Kerang's streets, with nationally renowned Quambatook-born country music singer/songwriter, John Williamson and 2014 Commonwealth Games netball gold medallist, Julie Corletto the most prominent.

"I was very proud to represent my town [as part of the relay]. It was wonderful to see so many kids within the park [Atkinson Park]," Mr Williamson said.

"Travelling in the bus with the relay was the first chance I've had in quite a while to tour Kerang. The streets are wide and there are some lovely houses."

Mrs Corletto – who gave birth to her second child, Zara, earlier this month – shared similar sentiments to returning to her former home town.

"It was such a great experience and was awesome to be a part of," she said.

"I started off at Kerang Primary School and the kids were so excited to see the baton in the school.

"It just brings back so many memories. I had such a great experience growing up in Kerang, playing so many different sports and it is so good to be back home."

Margot Foster OAM – who won a bronze medal in rowing at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games – also carried the baton through Kerang, joining 10 other residents.

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