Six Bells disaster survivor and Tredegar Paralympian to carry Queen’s baton

CARRYING THE BATON: Paralympic gold medal-winning cyclist from Tredegar, Mark Colbourn will be carrying the Queen’s Commonwealth Games Baton

CARRYING THE BATON: Paralympic gold medal-winning cyclist from Tredegar, Mark Colbourn will be carrying the Queen’s Commonwealth Games Baton

First published in Gwent news
Last updated

A SURVIVOR of the 1960 Six Bells pit disaster and a Gwent Paralympian are among the 16 people chosen to carry the Queen’s Commonwealth Games Baton.

Abertillery man Joseph Price, 82, narrowly avoided the colliery disaster and played a major role in the rescue of survivors.

Paralympic gold medal-winning cyclist from Tredegar, Mark Colbourn will also carry the baton.

The baton relay will be visiting Wales from 24 until 30 May, with Abertillery, Ebbw Vale and Tredegar all on the route for the first day.

The relay will take the baton around Britain ahead of the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on 23 July.

Here are the Blaenau Gwent baton-carriers:

Bethan Williams, 19:
Committed netball coach from Tredegar An exceptional role model for young women, Bethan volunteers at Tredegar Netball Club. Not only does she coach the mini nets, junior teams and back to netball ladies team but she also drives teams to league matches and tournaments. Bethan is also a Platinum Young Ambassador and involved in numerous projects across Blaenau Gwent.

Samantha O’Callaghan, 37:
Netball club champion from Ebbw Vale A dedicated netball coach and chairperson, Sam has been involved with Ebbw Vale Junior Netball Club for the past six years and is not only head coach and chairperson but carries out administration roles as well as coaching and developing young leaders to assist her in running the sessions.

Under Sam’s guidance the club has gone from just one team to eight teams taking part in junior leagues.

Joseph Price, 82:
1960 pit disaster hero and keen golfer from Abertillery Miner turned hero, Joseph narrowly avoided the Six Bells pit disaster of 1960 and played an integral role in rescuing those trapped underground. Joe is the last surviving deputy from the pit at that time.

Joe has spent 40 years raising money for various charities, visiting people in hospital and organises an annual Christmas dinner for all the widows of the Moose International organisation. Joe has boxed in the army and still enjoys a round of golf, even at 82!

Chloe Williams, 16:
Netball and Tennis enthusiast from Blaenau Gwent An enthusiastic young lady who is involved in various sporting opportunities across the region, Chloe plays and coaches netball and works alongside a tennis coach to deliver mini tennis sessions. Involved in organising the 2013 Young Leaders Conference, she also delivers Young Ambassador training to other young people.

Luke Rees, 17:
Committed sports volunteer from Blaenau Gwent Currently on his way to achieving his 200 hours Millennium volunteer award, Luke has undertaken volunteering opportunities with 5×60, Street Games and Dragon Sport in a Welsh medium primary school; giving him the opportunity to learn basic Welsh.

Luke has also volunteered at the UK School Games in Sheffield where he gave a speech at the closing ceremony in front of 5000 people on behalf of all the volunteers.

Matthew Berrow, 16:
Passionate sports volunteer from Blaenau Gwent A pupil at Pen Y Cwm Special School, Matthew actively volunteers at numerous events including the Dragon Sport Festivals held across the community. He has a real passion for sport.

Naomi Jarman, 11:
Aspiring gymnast from Tredegar Naomi has proven herself as an excellent gymnast and has previously been part of the Elite Preparation Welsh squad, representing Wales at the National Grade 7 British Finals.

Suffering a setback after a fall from the bars caused an injury to her elbow, Naomi is back in the gym and training hard towards her next grade.

Ellie Eversfield:
Head girl and sport enthusiast from Blaenau Gwent. Currently the head girl at Queen Street Primary School, Ellie is an enthusiastic young lady who has represented her school in both football and netball tournaments. Ellie is a positive role model to other children and takes pride in everything she does.

Rachel Whitehouse, 17:
Volunteer and dodgeball enthusiast from Blaenau Gwent Volunteering on a weekly basis, Rachel delivers dodgeball session as part of her school, Ebbw Fawr’s, 5×60 programme and through StreetGames in her community. A shy girl when she first became a young leader, she’s quickly gained confidence and has recently given a speech at a conference to encourage other young people to become a volunteer.

James O’Leary, 11:
At just 11 years-old, James is the secretary of the school council at St Josephs Primary School.

Mark Colbourne, 44:
World Champions and Paralympic gold medal-winning cyclist In 2009 Mark broke his back in a Paragliding accident at Rhossili beach and against the odds went on to link up with the GB cycling squad.

In just 18 months, Mark had already scooped his first silver medal at the World Road Championships and took his first ever Para-Cycling World Championship gold and silver medals. Mark went on to compete for Team GB at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, adding two golds and a silver medal to his trophy cabinet.

Aled Davies, 16:
Keen sports coach and volunteer from Ebbw Vale A valuable member of the Young Ambassador team in Blaenau Gwent, Aled is currently looking to pursue coaching opportunities in basketball and table tennis. He was recently involved in coordinating a film based on volunteers in Blaenau Gwent and is currently analysing the results of Sport Wales’ School Sport Survey to identify the gaps in participation in the area.

Sarah Gratton, 26:
Special Olympic’s silver medallist from Tredegar Having travelled all over the UK and Europe representing Wales at judo Sarah, who was born with Down’s Syndrome, represented Great Britain at the Special Olympics in 2007 and won the silver medal. Now running a judo club in Tredegar where children, adults and seniors, with or without learning disabilities, all come together to enjoy sport.

Malcolm Higgs, 69:
Former cricketer from Tredegar Malcolm was a talented bowler, playing 570 matches for Southend from 1969-2002. Over those 33 years he was also club captain, treasurer, chair and fixture secretary. On retiring from cricket, Malcolm took up bowling in 2002 and played for Bedwelty Park Bowls team where he still plays.

Malcolm also runs the Tredegar Quiz Wizards and has done for 33 years, raising thousands of pounds for local charities.

Stuart Lane, 60:
Local rugby legend from Tredegar One of the most successful rugby players from the area, Stuart’s strength and spped led to a first class career playing for Cardiff, Newport and Newbridge. Capped for Wales in 1978 he was also selected for the British Lions tour of South Africa in 1980.

Gerald Watkins, 80:
The ‘Mr Tennis’ of Tredegar Both a keen tennis and table tennis player, Gerald has been at the centre of the sport across the borough for many years, turning younger generations into international players and helping many to fulltime professional athletes.

Having played for Tredegar Tennis Club, he was instrumental in reforming the club in 1970 and has held the position of Secretary for over 40 years. He’s also been playing table tennis since 1947 and has set up leagues and teams across Blaenau Gwent.

Susan Woodward, 55:
Cutting edge swimming coach from Tredegar Currently the Chair of Blaenau Gwent Otters, Sue has been involved with the swimming club for the 36 years, coaching people of all disabilities. The most qualified coach of the Haklliwick method in Wales, Sue is set to start offering the technique in Wales.

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