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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 19:57 GMT 20:57 UK
Manchester's joy for jubilee baton
Stuart Pearce and Ryan Giggs enter Albert Square
Albert Square was packed for the celebrations
The Queen's Jubilee Baton arrived in Manchester on Wednesday where it was greeted by a crowd of about 15,000 people.

Two footballers - Ryan Giggs of Manchester United and Stuart Pearce of Manchester City - carried it on the final leg into the city's Albert Square.

The baton will be taken to the City of Manchester stadium on Thursday where the Queen will receive it during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

The relay began on 11 March in London and has travelled through 24 Commonwealth countries en route to the Games.


I'm delighted I've been asked to carry the baton

Ryan Giggs
Celebrations in Manchester started in Exchange Square, near to where an IRA bomb blast devastated the city centre in 1996.

Crowds were entertained by live performers and a video feed from Albert Square where the main party took place.

Among the acts on stage were a gospel choir, Aboriginal dancers and South African drummers.

At 1850 BST, Manchester United's Ryan Giggs and Manchester City's Stuart Pearce entered Albert Square and placed the baton on a plinth which then rose upwards surrounded by fireworks.

Giggs said: "I'm delighted I've been asked to carry the baton.

"This is the place where I grew up and this is a great event so I hope everyone enjoys it."

Pearce said that he will be visiting the stadium, which Manchester City will move into next year.

The plinth holding the baton
Fireworks erupted as the baton was raised
He said: "My chairman has offered me the use of his hospitality box so I'll be taking him up on that next week."

The baton contains a message from the Queen which she will read out at the opening ceremony.

It was placed in the baton at Buckingham Palace in March when Sir Roger Bannister became the first person to carry it.

Since then, it has travelled about 60,000 miles from Canada, through the West Indies and Africa, to Oceania and the Far East.

It has been carried underwater and was almost stolen as it travelled through Wales.

It's final journey to the stadium begins at 0555 BST on Thursday.


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24 Jul 02 | England
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