Queen's Baton lands back in Britain
The Queen's Baton, heralding the final countdown to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, has touched down in the British Isles.
A fanfare from a brass band and cheering crowds, including British sporting hopefuls, were part of the big welcome after it arrived on a flight to Jersey.
Diver Tom Daley said it was a "huge honour" to be the first person to carry the hand-crafted baton, containing a personal message from the Queen. It will be a key part in the July 23 opening ceremony.
After a windy and choppy ride boat ride along Jersey's St Aubin's harbour, Daley joked that he was glad he had not dropped it. With 10 weeks to go until the Games begin, he hoped the public would see the baton relay as a chance to relive the buzz that was part of the build-up to London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
The Olympic bronze medallist said: "Glasgow 2014 is a huge focus for me - and feeling the enthusiasm and support of the crowds and the commitment of the young athletes I had the opportunity to meet today - makes the Commonwealth Games feel very real.
"It's mad to think that the baton has already travelled over 190,000 kilometres around the Commonwealth and will be carried by more than 4,000 people on its journey round the home nations. I'm so pleased I got to play a part in the relay - what a great thing to be a part of."
Daley was joined by 23-year-old British indoor championship shot-putter Zane Duquemin who described it as "a proud day" as he prepares for Glasgow 2014.
The baton has been on an epic tour of the Commonwealth since the relay began at Buckingham Palace in October. The Queen's message calls on the athletes of the Commonwealth to Glasgow for the start of the Games.
Over the past seven months it has travelled to 70 Commonwealth nations and territories.
The arrival marks the start of the home nations' leg of the baton's 288-day international journey.
For the next 32 days, it will travel through Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Wales and England, rallying athletes as they get ready to compete for medals in Glasgow.
A 40-day journey through 400 communities across Scotland will begin on June 14 when the baton reaches the proud host nation of the 2014 Games.
Unlike the Olympic and Paralympic torch relays where the flame was passed through hundreds of torches, there is just one baton for the Commonwealth Games.
This means that up to 4,000 people will have carried the Queen's message on the Scottish route of the relay, before it is read out to the world when the Games begin.
Chris Jenkins, regional vice-president Europe of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said: "The journey of the baton through 70 nations and territories which compete in the Commonwealth Games is an amazing testimony to the shared values of the Commonwealth family.
"It's a fantastic tradition to be part of, and over the next few weeks thousands of people across Guernsey, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland will have the chance to say 'I was there' and see the baton for themselves as part of the countdown to Glasgow 2014."