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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 18:31 GMT 19:31 UK
Crowds welcome Games party
The Games party in Albert Square in Manchester
About 38,000 enjoyed the free concert and party
About 38,000 people gathered for a party in the centre of Manchester to mark the Commonwealth Games.

The party culminated with the arrival of the Queen's jubilee baton in the city centre completing its journey around the world.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh also toured Manchester on Wednesday as part of a two-day visit.

Her Majesty will officially open the 17th Commonwealth Games on Thursday.

The Queen in the gardens at Christie's hospital in Manchester
The Queen visited the city's Christie hospital

The baton completed its four-month, 58,000-mile relay around the globe just before 1900 BST when it was placed on a plinth in Albert Square at the end of a music and dance concert.

Manchester United's Ryan Giggs and Manchester City's Stuart Pearce carried the baton on the last leg of its journey in front the square packed with spectators.

The baton will be handed to the Queen by Kirsty Howard, the six-year-old terminally ill girl who won the heart of David Beckham, during the opening ceremony on Thursday.

Kirsty, born with a heart defect, was the England mascot for the World Cup qualifier against Greece and the England captain dedicated his crucial goal in the game to her.

"She is very, very excited and we are all very proud of her," said an organiser of the show.

A television audience of 500 million people around the world is expected to watch the opening of the games.

City walkabout

During her visit the Queen went to King's School in Macclesfield where she saw classrooms themed on the styles of 1952 and 2002.

A gift of Macclesfield silk was presented to the Queen followed by the release of 300 balloons, representing each of Cheshire's communities.

At Manchester's Christie Hospital, the Queen visited the outpatients' department and treatment areas.

She then went to the Museum of Jewish Life, in Cheetham Hill, to see an exhibition of the art of Hebrew script.

The Duke of Edinburgh opened the Imperial War Museum North at Trafford.

The Queen and Prince Philip then embarked on a walkabout in Manchester's Exchange Square.

Finally they attended a Thanksgiving Service at Manchester cathedral for the restoration of the city centre following the terrorist bombing.


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24 Jul 02 | England
23 Jul 02 | England
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