THE founder of a “Secret Santa” charity in Didcot has carried the official baton for the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay.

Courtney Hughes, founder of Secret Santa 365, represented the South East by carrying the baton on Thursday (7) last week on its journey to the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Herald Series: Courtney Hughes carrying the batonCourtney Hughes carrying the baton

The 24-year-old, who is a student nursing associate, said she was “shocked but honoured” to be nominated for the role after her name was put forward by volunteers at her charity and her family.

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She was met by Dame Kelly Holmes in London and handed the baton to the next baton bearer outside 10 Downing Street.

Herald Series: Courtney with the baton in LondonCourtney with the baton in London

The Queen’s Baton Relay, which is an annual event in its 16th year, started on October 7 last year with Her Majesty The Queen placing her message to the Commonwealth into the Baton.

The Baton is now on its 294-day long journey to every corner of the Commonwealth. It started in London, then Birmingham, followed by Cyprus, Malta, Kenya and more.

Herald Series: Courtney represented the South EastCourtney represented the South East

It came to England on Monday, July 4 and will finish its journey in Birmingham at the opening ceremony of the games on Thursday, July 28 where the final Batonbearer will return the Baton to the Queen.

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Herald Series: The student nurse wearing her baton bearer t-shirtThe student nurse wearing her baton bearer t-shirt

Miss Hughes founded Secret Santa 365 about 10 years ago to support vulnerable members of the community who would have otherwise been alone at Christmas.

The charity has supported thousands of people in Oxfordshire with over 95,000 essential items and wrapped gifts.

Herald Series: Courtney and Dame Kelly HolmesCourtney and Dame Kelly Holmes

Herald Series: Courtney outside number 10Courtney outside number 10



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This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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