RIGHT ROYAL RECOGNITION
BY MIKE BYRNE 12:00 – 21 June 2002
Thousands of Exeter residents were given a right royal pat on the back today from the delighted organisers of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Baton relay.
And there were thanks too for the people of Crediton who got up at the crack of dawn to see the baton make a special detour down their high street.
Katrina De Jersey, who has been leading the advance team on the baton’s journey across Britain, said: “Exeter’s reception for the baton was absolutely wonderful.
“There must have been 5,000 people there when the baton arrived on the quayside.
“It was by far the biggest reception party we have had so far and it was really well organised. It really did wonders for the morale of everybody involved. I cannot thank the people of Exeter enough for what they did.”
“There was even a big crowd in Crediton and that was before 7am yesterday.
“It really lifted our spirits and was a true reflection of everything the relay is meant to mean about bringing people together.”
One of those who ran the baton through Crediton was Exeter schoolboy Kelvin Perry, 15, of Ashleigh Close, Exwick.
Kelvin, who was given just four months to live before he had a liver transplant, was up at 5.30am to prepare for his big day.
And when he had finished his section, he was so delighted that he kept on his official baton shorts and T-shirt to show off to his friends at Southbrook School, Countess Wear.
Kelvin said: “It was marvellous.
“Even better than I thought it would be.
“I got so excited I sprinted away with the baton but then the organisers told me I had better slow down.
“There were crowds of people cheering me on and as I went along I was called over and presented to the Mayor of Crediton who was really pleasant.
“After it was all over I went straight back to school, but I kept my kit on just to show everybody.
“I brought my uniform along as well but nobody told me to change, so I just enjoyed the whole day with it on.”
Kelvin’s mother, Sharon, said: “He really enjoyed it. He is very fit really and we are all so proud of him.”
The Mayor of Crediton Cllr Charlie Haydon said: “There was a really good turnout, especially for that time of day.
“It all went really well and we were quite proud that the organisers took the trouble to include us.”
After the Crediton leg, the baton was whisked back to Exeter and run out from the cathedral along Topsham Road.
Picking up the baton along the way was Dean Dunbar, 32, of Monks Road, Mount Pleasant.
Dean, who is slowly losing his sight, took the baton from the Barrack Road junction to Burnthouse Lane.
Running with him was his wife of only a few weeks, city GP Rhona.
Dean said: “It went really well. There were not too many people along the road but my mother, Liz, was there to cheer me on.
“I managed all right until I was running directly into the sun, then I couldn’t see a thing so Rhona had to take my arms and guide me along the way.”
Today the baton reached Southampton.