18 July – From Nigeria to Stoke-on-Trent

Day one of the Queen’s Baton Relay in the West Midlands kicked off in the north of the region, including a visit to Hanley Park in Stoke-on-Trent where community Batonbearer Brian Kokoruwe had the pleasure of carrying the Baton. An inspiration to those around him, Brian contracted meningitis when he was 13 years old, leaving him profoundly deaf and unable to walk, yet through his self-determination and physiotherapy, Brian regained the ability to walk again but not his hearing.  Since then, he has represented Great Britain as a Deaflympics Sprinter, Manager, and Coach, has raised awareness and money for the Deaf community, volunteered for the National Deaf Children Society givING hope to parents with young deaf children, led a heritage project to record and share memories of Deaf Olympians, and has inspired others to learn British Sign Language.

As Brian approached the pavilion at the park, he was welcomed by crowds of people all excitedly waving their hands, showing the British Sign Language action to demonstrate applause for Brian. And what made the moment even more touching, was that Brian’s family had travelled all the way from Nigeria to see him carry the Baton, and you could just see them bursting with pride for their son.

Memorable moments from around the West Midlands