GAT­TON SET FOR RE­LAY

Queen’s Ba­ton will pass through Gat­ton

Gatton Star - - FRONT PAGE - Lach­lan Mcivor lach­lan.mcivor@gat­ton­star.com.au

BY THE time the Queen’s Ba­ton ar­rives in Gat­ton in May, it will have trav­elled thou­sands of kilo­me­tres, vis­ited nu­mer­ous coun­tries and passed through thou­sands of hands.

Eigh­teen lo­cals will bring the ba­ton through town as the global re­lay reaches its fi­nal stages and the Gold Coast, host of the 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games, draws ever closer.

While Olympic and Com­mon­wealth Games cham­pi­ons have played their part so far, it is a group of lo­cal he­roes, such as Cody Ma­son and Michael Vaughan, who have been se­lected to carry the ba­ton as it makes its way through the Lock­yer Val­ley.

Faith Lutheran Col­lege se­nior stu­dent Cody was di­ag­nosed with autism at the age of two and his par­ents were told he would never be able to speak.

Now he has am­bi­tions to study avi­a­tion with the goal of be­com­ing a pi­lot, com­mits his time to vol­un­teer at Tabeel Lutheran Home in Lai­d­ley and has served as an as­sis­tant coach for his school’s rugby team.

He couldn’t wait for the big day to come around.

“I ac­tu­ally feel pretty priv­i­leged to be in­volved with this,” Cody said.

“I think it’s just they were re­ally in­trigued by my story and how I carry my­self in life.

“When I was two years old I was di­ag­nosed with autism.

“I was told that I was never go­ing to be able to speak, that I would never be smarter than a six-mon­thold... and (now) I’m off to univer­sity.”

Mr Vaughan started help­ing out at the Gat­ton Swim­ming Club when he first signed his daugh­ters up 20 years ago.

But even when his kids moved on, the now re­tired phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion teacher stayed and, close to two decades on, he has never left.

His com­mit­ment to the de­vel­op­ment of young swim­mers has seen him named as a life mem­ber of the Gat­ton club, as well as a num­ber of dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing the Dar­ling Downs Swim­ming As­so­ci­a­tion, the Dar­ling Downs School Sport Re­gion, Queens­land 10-12 Swim­ming, Queens­land 10-12 Ath­let­ics and Queens­land School Sport.

He ran with the Syd­ney Olympic Torch through Toowoomba in 2000 but was look­ing for­ward to car­ry­ing the ba­ton closer to home this time around, hav­ing taught at most of the schools in the Lock­yer in his time.

“I’m sure I will have lots of peo­ple there call­ing out to me that I’m not run­ning fast enough, I’ll have a lot of fam­ily and friends and the swim­ming club I’m sure will be there,” Mr Vaughan said.

“It’s good to be hon­oured, it’s good to have peo­ple ap­pre­ci­ate what you do, that’s re­ally lovely.”

It was an ex­tra spe­cial mo­ment for Mr Vaughan as an avid watcher of the games.

“I’m a bit of a, not only Com­mon­wealth Games, but an Olympics Games nut.”

Lock­yer Val­ley Re­gional Coun­cil­lor Chris Wil­son said the ex­cite­ment would be pal­pa­ble with the re­lay com­ing through the re­gion so close to the start of the games.

“Our com­mu­nity re­ally does love their sport... to have the ba­ton ac­tu­ally come through our area I think will be fan­tas­tic and re­ally will cre­ate a lot of in­ter­est in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties,” Cr Wil­son said.

The ba­ton will also travel through Som­er­set and ar­rive in Kil­coy on Tues­day, March 27.

PHOTO: LACH­LAN MCIVOR

TRUE HON­OUR: Michael Vaughan and Cody Ma­son are two of the 18 lo­cals se­lected to carry the Queen’s Ba­ton through Gat­ton on March 29.

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