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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Commonwealth baton honour for dairy man

A farmer from Torpenhow carried the Queen’s Baton in the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony this week.

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GAMES RUNNER: Mark Lee, of Torpenhow, who was a Commonwealth Games baton carrier ahead of the opening ceremony in Glasgow

Mark Lee, 36, who has a 350-acre dairy farm, was part of the colourful spectacular at Glasgow’s Celtic Park.

He said: “When they said I was one of the bearers they told me not to worry because only a billion people would be watching worldwide.”

It was a major honour for former rugby international and ex-Army captain whose wife Jenny teaches at Plumbland Primary School.

The couple have two children, Isla, five and Jessie, three.

He carried the baton first in the town of Dingwall, near Inverness, a week before the opening event.

He said: “It’s only a small place but 5,000 to 6,000 people came out.

“Baton carriers are a mix of sports people and those who have been nominated by their local communities.”

Mark, as captain of the Scotland Sevens team, the British Army, the Combined Services and the Barbarians, has played rugby all over the world.

He captained Scotland Sevens at the Manchester and Melbourne Commonwealth Games and in the World Series.

He left the Army two years ago after he led the British Army to victory in the Defence World Cup in 2011 in New Zealand.

He also played professional rugby for five seasons with Edinburgh and the Borders.

He was selected by the team behind the Glasgow bid to champion the city, alongside other sports people.

As ambassador he travelled to the Caribbean to win votes for Scotland.

He joined the King’s Own Scottish Borderers as a commissioned officer in 2003.

Mark was due to be deployed to Iraq when he got the call to lead the Scottish Rugby Sevens squad to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006. He was in the army for 10 years, ending his service as a solicitor.

He still plays rugby and joined local club Wigton to help him settle into the area and after two seasons playing he is now looking forward to his first season helping to coach.

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