Blind man and guide dog bear Queen's baton in 'run up' to Commonwealth Games
GLASWEGIAN Allan Russell won’t be alone when he picks up the Queen’s Baton today in the run-up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games which start on Wednesday.
Allan (42) from Glasgow Harbour, who is registered blind with the sight loss condition Leaber’s congenital amarosis, will be accompanied by his guide-dog Troy.
“Troy will be retiring soon and I’m over the moon that he will get to accompany me on this fantastic event ahead in the city I love and talk about all the time on my travels,” says Allan.
Despite losing his sight 14 years ago, Allan works as a producer/ presenter with Insight Radio, the multi-award winning radio station of sight loss charity RNIB, based in Partick.
“Being nominated to carry the Queen’s Baton in my home city of Glasgow is a great honour. I was nominated for my work at Insight Radio, breaking down barriers for blind and partially sighted people through our broadcasts, and letting everyone know that visual impairment isn’t as devastating as people may think it is.
“With the right support and motivation, a visually impaired person can achieve a great deal and if that’s something I have strived to do since losing my sight in 2000. If I can do it and experience all that life can offer, then anyone, regardless of their sight loss, can!
“I haven’t been a big runner in the past but I do keep fit with martial arts and tandem cycling. I will be bearing the baton from a point on Dumbarton Road, Partick to near the bottom of Crow Road, which is approximately 200m.
“I'll be running, or jogging, with Troy and accompanied by a relay member of staff.”
The Queen's baton relay is the curtain-raiser to the twentieth Commonwealth Games. Over a period of 288 days the baton will have visited 70 nations and territories, involving a third of the world's population.
The baton will be carried through more than 400 villages, towns and cities during its 40 days in Scotland. Approximately 100 baton-bearers - nominated in recognition of their contributions to local sport, community and youth - have carried the baton each day.
The relay concludes at the opening ceremony, when the baton is delivered back to The Queen. After reading her message of welcome to the athletes of the Commonwealth, the Games officially begin.