Commonwealth flags and smiling faces welcome the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay

Commonwealth flags and smiling faces covered the campus today (Monday 11 July), as crowds gathered to welcome the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay.

Campus Batonbearers Abbie Brown and Dr Sola Afolabi

The Baton began its journey with a private visit to Team England, who are basing themselves at the University for their immersion camp and official ‘kitting out’ centre ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

Staff, students, alumni, University partners and the local community greeted the Baton at Loughborough’s Hazlerigg Building, where it started its public tour of the town. Flags from across the Commonwealth were on display, carried by children from the University nursery, as Batonbearer Abbie Brown had the honour of taking the Baton on its first leg.

Abbie, a Loughborough Lightning and England rugby sevens star, is set to compete at her second Commonwealth Games at this summer’s event in Birmingham.

At the University rugby pitch, Perry, the Commonwealth Games mascot was there to meet the Baton, joined by the Loughborough Sport Mascot, Bolt, and friends, as well as members of the Team England Women’s Rugby 7s squad.

The Baton was then passed across to Dr Sola Afolabi, who carried it on its final leg of the campus to Shirley Pearce Square.

Dr Afolabi is a Senior Lecturer in Water and Environment Engineering based in the University’s School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering. His research, which focuses on waste management, renewable energy, water quality and wastewater engineering, has taken him across the world, including parts of the Commonwealth.

At Shirley Pearce Square the University hosted a Festival of Sport to give the Baton a celebratory send off. Joined by friends from Loughborough College, the Square was transformed into a summer festival, with food stalls, live music and interactive stands.

As the Baton continued its journey through to the town centre, two more University alumni had the honour of carrying it. Paralympians Dan Greaves and James Hollis – who is also a current member of staff – were welcomed by the crowds, along with fellow Paralympian Emma Wigg, marking the end of the Baton’s visit to Loughborough.

Speaking about the day, Professor Nick Jennings, the University’s Vice-Chancellor said: “Today has been a true celebration of sport and the Commonwealth, and I am delighted Loughborough University has been part of it.

“We have over 100 Loughborough-linked athletes, coaches, practitioners and support staff – representing 10 different nations – attending the Commonwealth Games, and the Baton Relay has been a brilliant way for us to show our support and pride in what they achieved.”

Cllr Jenny Bokor, Charnwood Borough Council’s lead member for Loughborough said: “It has been an absolute privilege to welcome the Queen’s Baton Relay to Loughborough in celebration of the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Thank you to our inspirational Batonbearers and everyone who came along to show their support for the Baton and Games. Loughborough has a rich sporting history and the Baton’s visit to the town has provided a fantastic opportunity to inspire residents to get involved in sport.”

Jo Maher, Principal and CEO at Loughborough College, said: “It was fantastic to join our partners for this incredible celebration of sport, culture and diversity on such a stunning day.

“It is so fitting and such an honour that Loughborough was chosen to host a leg of the baton relay so our communities, who have such a unique connection to British sport, could celebrate and support all the athletes competing at the games.

“Congratulations to everyone who played a part in making the day such a great advert for sport in Loughborough.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 22/127

For images or video footage of the Baton relay please email

About Loughborough University

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2022 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2022, and 10th in both the Guardian University League Table 2022 and the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.