Cockermouth’s Mike Park MBE has urged West Cumbrians to nominate those who help bring the community together to become Batonbearers for this year’s Commonwealth Games.

The sporting event will be held in Birmingham in the summer and organisers are looking for 2,022 Batonbearers, each with inspiring stories, to take on the special experience of carrying the Queen’s Baton through England.

Mr Park has first-hand experience of realising how special the occasion is after taking to the streets of Allerdale in 2012 as part of the Olympic Torch Relay. Now Senior Executive Officer of Mountain Rescue England and Wales, Mike was nominated for his work with the Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team.

Discussing the experience, Mike said: “I was quite cynical at the time but after going through the experience you realise how much it brings the community together. Much like clapping for the NHS staff, people must have the opportunity to show their appreciation.

“To be nominated and asked to do it does make a difference and it shows appreciation to the organisations and causes they’re working for. It also inspires people to continue to be motivated to do things for the community. I think it’s a great thing to do and I expect it isn’t just a one-way thing for the person doing the relay, but for the people who have nominated them.”

Sharing his delight at how Cumbrians responded when the relay arrived, Mike said: “When I watched the footage back and saw different parts of the country reacting, I was shocked at the amount of people in Cockermouth and West Cumbria who had turned out in support. It brought a real sense of community.

We keep seeing a change in society which is a good thing, however we need to keep some good things like community spirit as it keeps everyone together through the good and bad times. We’ve seen it in Cumbria, whether it’s been from Covid or the recent floods and we just bounce back.”

The Queen’s Baton Relay will travel to every region in England, before arriving at the Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on 28 July. To nominate a worthy candidate, visit the Birmingham 2022 website.