Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay – our part in the journey
Nine employees from Aggreko will have the honour of being a Batonbearer in the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) this summer. The employees who were nominated by their co-workers have been recognised for their sporting or personal achievements and demonstrate great resilience and triumph in their inspirational stories.
The nine Batonbearers will take on the route of the QBR with the first two running in Scotland on 20th June.
Meet our Batonbearers
Chris Rason, Managing Director, is a keen cyclist although an accident nearly put paid to the sport he loves. Chris suffered multiple fractures of the pelvis and partial paralysis in a cycling accident and faced the challenge that he may never ride again. Against all odds and with a supportive coach Chris’ determination enabled him to get back on his bike and is stronger than ever, riding around 10,000km a year. He is chairman of the Kirkby Lonsdale Cycling club which has around 60 members of all abilities. “I am honoured to represent Aggreko in this global event. I was lucky enough to be there at Buckingham Palace to see The Queen’s Message be placed in the Baton earlier this year so it will be very special to be one of the lucky people who transport The Queen’s Message all around the Commonwealth prior to Birmingham 2022 .”
An uncertain future also faced our Sector Development Manager, Lee Best when he was partially paralysed in an accident. His initial prognosis was to focus on walking as he was advised he may never be able to run again. Just 5 years later Lee ran his first half marathon with a completion time of under two hours. He still faces difficulties everyday, but he doesn’t let anything hold him back. Lee commented on how sport has been a huge driver in his recovery, “sport has helped me constantly ask for more from myself. Not just physically, but mentality. It turns out I’m mentally stronger than I thought, and I wouldn’t have known that without the challenges that sport has presented me with. We all are faced with dark times, and we can find ourselves stripped of self-belief. From where I was physically and mentally, to where I am now are complete opposites.” His advice to others facing difficulties is, “don’t give up, you can do it, you are capable.”
Lewis Scremin – Bids and Tenders Manager for Major Projects - is an avid sports enthusiast who is passionate about health and fitness. Lewis is a marathon runner who has raised over £1,500 for Scottish Autism of which he is an ambassador of, he said “I am thrilled to have been selected to carry the Queen’s Baton in the relay for 2022. This is a massive honour for my family and I, particularly given that this is the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year. I want to inspire young people and those who struggle with neuro diverse, mental or behavioural health issues. My daughter has struggled with autism since birth and only now, is managing to access the mental health support that she’s needed that will enable her to get involved in training and physical activity. She’s recently started going to the gym under the guidance of my wife (who is a personal trainer) and the difference that this achievement has made to her outlook, positivity and mental wellbeing is remarkable. She’s becoming stronger and fitter by the day and when I carry the Baton, I will be thinking of her and hope that this can symbolize the achievement that she, and many other young people, have made.”
Regional Procurement Manager, Samantha Johns has been hailed as an inspirational leader to her team at Aggreko. A keen cyclist and Ironman competitor she regularly takes on challenges and has trained all ages to swim, cycle and run through her coaching skills. Sam discusses the importance of sport. “Sport is very important to me as it is a great way to meet people and be part of a team. I’m hoping to show the positive impact sport can have on bringing communities together and I hope to represent my company and the Commonwealth in a positive way at the QBR and be an ambassador for sport and for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”
Amy Coniff, Marketing Specialist was nominated due to her strong work ethic and positive attitude alongside her fundraising for Children with Cancer. Amy has ran two marathons to date and raised almost £5,000 in total for the charity. She is set to run again next year to continue her fundraising. “It’s a real thrill to know I’m just one of around 2000 people in the UK who will have the chance to run in the Queen’s Baton Relay. I was shocked to find out I’d been chosen and I don’t think it will feel real until the event. It’s going to be a really special moment for me and a memory to cherish.”
As father to three young children Business Analyst Jamil Bashir wants to set the best example he can. He is a trustee of 2 charities Zia E Madinah and Ghamkol Shari, one of the largest mosques in UK. A Board member of the latter, they have employed 3 Community Support officers to address local community concerns such as mental health awareness and uniting all faiths. They are also affiliated with South Birmingham City College to promote BAME community on route back to work focusing on HS2, engineering & construction.
Birmingham born Neil Ruffle is proud of his heritage and the values instilled in him by family and friends of hard work, integrity and respect. As Project Manager he has had the good fortune to plan and deliver The Open Golf Championships for a number of years and is now using these skills to help deliver the Commonwealth Games in his hometown. To be part of a team that is helping to create the Commonwealth Games for Birmingham is a unique challenge in itself and something he is incredibly proud of.
Jemma Shelbourne, HR Business Partner, was nominated due to her tireless effort through the pandemic taking the lead to interpret new information and support teams providing answers and clarity to help put people at ease. “I feel incredibly proud to have been chosen as a Batonbearer for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay. It’s a huge honour - my family and friends are super excited. It’s a privilege to not only represent Aggreko but also the Midlands as it’s my home." Jemma continued, “sport has always been part of my life. The physical and mental benefits are huge – I know I’m a better person (both at work and at home) for keeping myself fit. I love the health benefits sport brings, but also the social aspects. By carrying the Baton, I hope to inspire young people to be confident and grab hold of opportunities when they arise.”
Gavin Hartley, Manufacturing Team Leader, has worked at Aggreko for 33 years, he said of the honour “It is a privilege to be chosen as a Batonbearer and to have been nominated in the first place. My family will be accompanying me on the day I carry the Baton, and it will be a real buzz to have them watching me take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity. My oldest son has learning difficulties and suffers from autism so to celebrate this with him will be something very special. We should never take life or our families for granted and seize every moment we have as there are lots of others that are not so fortunate.”
We look forward to seeing all Batonbearers taking part.