I don’t know where to start or where to find the words to describe the overwhelming feeling of happiness, excitement, the honour and enjoyment of participating in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Queens baton relay yesterday.
Initial nerves disappeared as I approached the collection point as familiar faces began to appear. People from Wee Waa, Narrabri and Gunnedah were there with smiles, hugs and high fives.
A fellow in a volunteer uniform approached and asked: “Are you Noreen Boehm?”
I said: “Yes, should I know you? and he said you will shortly as I’m your drop off bus driver, come this way and I will introduce you to Luke, your team leader.” (He was from Perth).
From there it was a whirlwind of signing on, checking security documents, meeting other baton bearers and volunteers.
In no time we were on the bus and one by one being dropped off at our starting point.
As we left the bus the cheering and clapping was deafening from those on the bus and then our family, friends and community joined in.
Emotions almost overflowed when I saw my husband, children, grandchildren, a cousin and some Boggabri friends waiting at my start position.
Then the ice berg tipped - my best mate and his wife stepped forward.
They had driven from Maitland for the day. They had rung the day before to wish me good luck and asked me to send photos. What a surprise.
There were police cars with lights flashing, security vehicles, media vehicles, and police on foot, police riding bikes, a doctor and volunteers on bikes and running beside us.
To my surprise the driver of one of the highway patrol called my name and beckoned me to the car.
Imagine my surprise when the driver was a fellow who grew up in Boggabri and I hadn’t seen for probably 30 years.
No time to talk other than a good luck wish as Ronald Clissold approached with the baton.
That 200 metres went quickly.
I was walking on air, baton held high and according to family and friends one of the biggest smiles they had seen. I passed the baton to Ray Godkin OAM and it was back on the bus.
When we arrived at the civic reception we were presented with a beautiful engraved medallion from the Gunnedah Shire Council.
It was a great honour to represent my family and community.