Rotary stalwart Geoff Price will carry the Queen's Baton a day before the start of the Commonwealth Games.
Rotary stalwart Geoff Price will carry the Queen's Baton a day before the start of the Commonwealth Games. Yvonne Gardiner

Excitement builds as baton closes in on Games

AUSTRALIANS from all walks of life will have the honour of carrying the Queen's Baton before the Commonwealth Games begin on April 4 this year.

Many, like 74-year-old Geoff Price, of Bilambil Heights on the Tweed, have given years of community service.

By the time Geoff carries the baton, at Mermaid Beach the day before the opening of the Games, excitement will be at its highest.

His daughter Kathy put his name forward as a suitable candidate.

"Her son was doing a project at school on 'who do you think should carry the baton at the Commonwealth Games'," he said.

"It's a privilege, an honour to be nominated for a start.

"I'm getting quite excited. I'm going to walk.

"Many of our friends are going to be there."

Geoff was handed a life membership by Apex after 16 years with the service club.

In October 1983, he became a charter member of the Rotary Club of Tweed Heads South, and has been involved ever since.

"We're only a small club and we get involved with the community," he said.

In 2007, Geoff travelled with Rotary to an isolated part of Papua New Guinea for two weeks, to finish off a community building.

Five years later, he helped build two houses for Rotary in Seghe, the Solomon Islands, to combat malaria.

As for the Commonwealth Games, Geoff intends to see the beach volleyball at Coolangatta.

And he's aware of the benefits the Games will bring to the coast.

"I think publicity-wise, the TV coverage will do a lot for tourism," he said.

"It'll create temporary employment.

"The venues are going to be used by locals and visitors.

"We have some great facilities here now."

Geoff's own sporting prowess extends to squash and golf.

"I'm a bad golfer, but I love it," he says.

Since the Queen's Baton arrived in Australia before Christmas, it's been centre-stage at sporting events and carried by a host of celebrities.

Swim legend Ian Thorpe took the iconic symbol to the summit of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, then the baton made its first public appearance on the Gold Coast at the Magic Millions Barrier Draw at Surfers Paradise.

It will be back in New South Wales in traditional relay mode from January 28 where it will visit 28 celebration communities and be carried by more than 470 bearers.

Crowds are encouraged to line the streets and play their part in the GC2018 Queen's Baton Relay.

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