AYG baton to form centrepiece of Golden Games

The launch of Aberdeen’s annual Golden Games – a festival of activities for older people - was marked today [Friday 06 June] with the passing of a baton designed and created by local primary school children.

Now in its fourth year, the Golden Games has grown significantly and features more than 40 sports and activities at various venues with more than 600 folk signed up.

The four-day programme for over-65s – a partnership between Aberdeen City Council, Sport Aberdeen, Aberdeen Sports Village and NHS Grampian – runs from Tuesday to Friday next week, 10-13 June, and all activities are free.

Today’s launch saw a baton which formed the centrepiece of the recently-held Aberdeen Youth Games passed from school pupils to Golden Games participants. Residents at Mark Bush Court sheltered housing, Abbotswell Drive, received the Youth Games baton from pupils from Abbotswell Primary School.

Among the recipients of the Youth Games baton was Bessie Thomson who has been selected to take part in the Aberdeen leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Bessie was selected to be part of the Queen’s Baton Relay after participating in previous Golden Games events.

The Youth Games baton was created following a competition hosted by Robert Gordon University’s Gray’s School of Art which invited schools to submit designs. The winning design was transformed into the official Aberdeen Youth Games baton which was passed around 36 schools during the 12-day event.

It will now form the centrepiece of the Golden Games and continue its journey across Aberdeen being passed between more than 20 Golden Games teams from care homes and sheltered housing complexes throughout the city.

Aberdeen City Council Social Care and Wellbeing Convener Councillor Len Ironside CBE said: “Now in its fourth year, the Golden Games is a superb initiative which continues to go from strength to strength. This year we have another action-packed programme. Whether it is gentle exercises and healthy walks or more active pursuits like snowboarding or rock climbing, we have something to suit everyone.

“This is a great chance for folk of all abilities to have a go at something they might never have tried before, or to take part in an activity they already love and meet new friends in the process. This is a really friendly, sociable festival of sports and activities and I hope to see as many people as possible signing up.”

Charles Muir, chairman of Aberdeen Health and Social Care Partnership and vice-chairman of the NHS Grampian Board, added: “The response to this year’s Golden Games is inspiring. As well as being a very enjoyable event, offering unparalleled opportunities to try an impressive range of activities, it is a great encouragement to older people and the wider community to take up or continue physical activity. Being active supports our physical and mental health and wellbeing and the organisers have created a very attractive event to get us on the right path. My very best wishes go to everyone taking part in the Golden Games 2014.”

Stephen Gammack, Sport Aberdeen's physical activity development officer (older people), said: “The Golden Games offers a fantastic programme of events for over-65s seeking to try activities in a relaxed and friendly setting. All events aim to be very social and bring people together through physical activity. There will also be opportunities for people to join a weekly class if they find they enjoyed certain aspects of the games.”

The Aberdeen Youth Games is a city-wide sport and culture programme developed by RGU and Sport Aberdeen, which aims to promote physical activity and global citizenship amongst Aberdeen’s young people.

Bryan McCann, lecturer in sport and exercise science at RGU, led the Aberdeen Youth Games and said he was delighted to see the symbol of the Youth Games now being passed to those taking part in the Golden Games.

He added: “After the huge success of the Aberdeen Youth Games, it is great to see the baton now being handed over to the Golden Games and forming the centrepiece of another city-wide initiative aimed at getting people active. It is fantastic to see both young and old getting involved in these events which not only promote the importance of exercise but also help to bring people together.”

All events in the Golden Games are designed to be enjoyed by people of all abilities and will give folk the chance to get out and about, get active, and meet new friends by trying new activities. The programme features rock climbing, snowboarding, ice skating and croquet, among others. A main component of the games is the pentathlon which will see teams battle it out to lift the coveted Pearl Mitchell Trophy.

Booking for all Golden Games events is essential. Call Sport Aberdeen on 0845 608 0935 to book.

Posted on behalf of Aberdeen City Council