BEARERS OF GOOD NEWS: Queen’s Baton-bearers, Nicholas Fasso-Opie, Philip Opie Bryan Wilson, and Deputy Mayor, Jason Modica eagerly await the Baton’s arrival in Mildura next February.

IN advance of next year’s Commonwealth Games to be held on Queensland’s Gold Coast  in April, the Queen’s Baton will pass through our region on February 17, as part of the 100-day countdown to the Games.

Across the community, hundreds of people will get the opportunity to engage with the Baton as it spends time our region.

A proud contingent of 17 locals has been chosen to participate in the baton-relay.

Mildura Rural City Council  Deputy Mayor Jason Modica said taking part was a great honour for the people selected.

“Many have dedicated their lives to improving the lives of others, some have accomplished great feats, while others are working towards realising their dreams,” he said.

One of the locals selected is 17 year-old Nicholas Fasso-Opie, a student at St Joseph’s College, and whose father Philip, has also been selected.

Nicholas was chosen after completing the application process, and said he felt very fortunate to have been selected as one of the bearers.

“I think it’s a really great opportunity to be involved with something that is an International event. I been involved in a lot of community activity and things at school and on this occasion being a baton-bearer is a chance to represent Mildura and my country,” he said.

Nicholas has many achievements to his credit, including being a Victorian representative at the 100 year celebrations at Gallipoli in 2016, and was awarded the Mildura Lions Youth of the Year.

Nicholas will attend university when he completes Year-12, and hopes to study Law and Commerce.

Philip Opie said he felt very lucky to be nominated and is looking forward to the event.

“I have always been a contributor to the community and have been a teacher for all of my working life, and always had a close involvement with sport,” he said.

Philip is certainly fit enough to run the 200 metres, but thinks he’ll walk it, so he can savour the moment.

Another prominent Sunraysia resident to be chosen, is former Olympic and Commonwealth Games shooting champion Bryan Wilson, whose wife encouraged him to apply to be a baton-bearer.

“She felt given my background as a former Commonwealth and Olympic games competitor and gold medal winner in the 1994 Commonwealth Games, it would be fitting for me to be involved with the baton-relay,” he said.

Since it left Buckingham Palace on March 13, this year, the Baton has inspired athletes and fans across Africa, the Caribbean, the Americas and Europe.                   Currently it’s in Malaysia, and is set to visit the remaining 15 Commonwealth nations in Asia and Oceania, before arriving in Brisbane on Christmas Eve.