AN Afghan war veteran has been chosen to be part of the Queen's baton relay ahead of this summer's Commonwealth Games.

The relay is taking place ahead of the opening of the games in Birmingham. 

James Rose, from Middlesbrough, will carry the ceremonial baton through the town on Thursday, July 14 as the countdown to the games enters its final fortnight.

Read more: Darlington man picked to be a baton bearer ahead of Commonwealth Games

The Army veteran, who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan in 2009, was nominated for the honour by his wife Naiomi.

The 34-year-old, who competed in wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the 2018 Invictus Games, said: “Naiomi didn’t tell me she’d put me forward, so it came as a bit of a shock.

“I feel quite privileged and honoured to be representing the North East in carrying the Baton, and I’m really looking forward to the Games.”

Naiomi said: “James has overcome adversity, becoming the first double amputee to climb Kilimanjaro unaided, raising over £30k for the charities that have helped him.

“He has overcome many obstacles and continues to inspire and make Teesside proud.”

During May, the baton is travelling through the Caribbean and the Americas, with visits to St Kitts & Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda and Canada, amongt others.

During its time on Teesside the relay will visit Saltburn, the Riverside Stadium and Middlesbrough Sports Village, before taking a speedboat along the Tees to the Tees Barrage.

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Thousands of Batonbearers, each with inspiring backgrounds and stories, will have the honour of carrying the Baton during the journey through England, including those nominated in recognition of their contributions to their local community, whether that be in sport, education, the arts, culture or charity.

Between 40 and 130 Batonbearers will carry the Baton each day, and the Relay will reach hundreds of villages, towns and cities during its tour of the country.

Members of the public are encouraged to get involved with the celebrations and embrace the arrival of the baton.

The Birmingham 2022 website will be updated with information over the coming months, with detail on the events and where to line the route.

Councillor Stephen Hill, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for culture and communities, said: “There’s a real buzz ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and the arrival of the Queen’s Baton Relay will only add to the excitement.

“After two years of cancellations and postponements it’s another sure sign that the events we’ve all missed so much are coming back bigger and better than ever.

“The relay can be assured of the warmest of Teesside welcomes, and James will be a fantastic ambassador for this area as one of our batonbearers.”

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