The Queen’s Baton relay may have come and gone, but the memories will never fade for the lucky community members who took part in the prestigious event in Yarrawonga last month.
For Barooga’s Leigh Hansen, Cobram’s Ray Sweeny and Adriana Fazio and Cobram East’s Damian Van de Berg, the overriding emotion from the day was one of pride and joy that they were able to soak in the occasion with their families.
Mrs Hansen said the experience was ‘‘fabulous’’ and ‘‘very overwhelming’’.
Each baton bearer had the chance to stand up on the bus and explain why they had been nominated, an exercise that made Mrs Hansen fully aware of the outstanding company she was in.
She said having a large number of schoolchildren there made the day all the more memorable.
Mr Sweeny said his family had a great time and was ‘‘pretty chuffed with it all’’.
The only thing he could lament was the fact it went so quickly — each baton bearer got to carry the baton for about three minutes.
‘‘It was great that the kids and grandkids could be there to enjoy it. It was a real family day,’’ he said.
‘‘I got to take the uniform home, so that will become a fantastic piece of memorabilia.
‘‘It was an honour to represent Cobram.’’
For Mr Van de Berg, the day was full of firsts.
He was caught off-guard when a youngster asked for his autograph.
Mr Van de Berg said the experience was unique as participants would never again have the opportunity to carry the baton.
He said it was brilliant to see the community come together as one, which in turn generated a huge buzz for participants.
The fact he has been selected as an official at the Commonwealth Games in a swimming capacity only added to the feeling of elation and pride on the day.
Mrs Fazio said it was the ‘‘best day ever’’.
For her, it was all about soaking up every second that the baton was in her hand.
‘‘We were told that once that baton is in our hand, we would be the only person in the world holding it, which is incredible when you think about it,’’ Mrs Fazio said.