GAMES: Queen's Baton comes early to Warwick
WHEN Rex Baguley straps on his runners to take part in the Queen's Baton Relay in March, it will be the third time he will take part in the iconic sporting tradition.
The Warwick Hockey Association patron was the only Rose City resident to take part in the torch relay for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games.
In 2000 for the Sydney Games there were a few more, Mr Baguley said.
Next year, he will be joined by a long line-up of local sporting greats and he'll get his first taste of the action when the relay trial run rolls into town this weekend.
Mr Baguley said he planned to wander into town tomorrow when the full Queen's Baton Relay convoy practises, including the official branded vehicles, security and media.
Southern Downs councillors and council staff will play the role of baton bearers during tomorrow's preview event.
"When I found out I was running (in March) it was a great surprise, I knew nothing about it,” Mr Baguley said.
"I feel it's a great honour and I'm getting excited about it.”
Mr Baguley has tried his hand at a few sports over the years, including cricket, rugby league and squash.
But his true passion is hockey.
He believes the relay will bring great interest from residents.
"In the 1956 torch relay there was no interest in it in Warwick because it was nowhere near here,” he said.
"In 2000, there was great interest in that one, so I would think that people will turn out for this one as well.”
Warwick Netball Association secretary Linda Bunch will be joining Mr Baguley on the baton bearer bus on the big day.
Mrs Bunch also plans to watch from the sidelines during the dress rehearsal.
"It does make it feel a bit more real and it's going to be a wonderful event,” she said.
"I'm pleased to see that training is going into the logistical side of things.
"Yes, it may be a bit of an inconvenience with the road closures but it's obviously an extremely large event that's coming to the region and plans must be made.”
Warwick is one of only two regions chosen to carry out a practice run, with the convoy also passing through Gatton on Sunday afternoon.
Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said the structure of Warwick made it ideal for a practice run.
"Warwick and Gatton are well laid-out towns and the routes are really clear, it's a really good way to test the convoy,” Cr Dobie said.
"It would be very different to practise in the middle of Brisbane.”
Cr Dobie said residents could view the whole relay convoy, with streets still open to foot traffic.
"I think this is the first time they've come to together and practised,” Cr Dobie said.
"In the current environment of terror and people who are attention seekers, it's a good opportunity to watch the police in action because I'm quite sure they'll be some practice incidents for them to respond to,” the mayor said.