Esperance man nominated as Commonwealth Games batonbearer by the community

Esperance local Russell Palmer has been selected to represent the community by carrying the Queen’s Baton as part of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.

A popular community member, Mr Palmer is currently the Esperance Brass Band band master, a teacher at Castletown Primary School, the Esperance State Emergency Service manager and the commander of Esperance Sea Rescue.

Mr Palmer said he was very excited about having been selected as a batonbearer and representing Esperance.

"It’s a great honour that people think highly enough of what you do to give you that sort of nomination,” he said.

“I just want to thank the community for the support for the various things that I’m involved in because there is a huge amount of community support for the organisations that I’m involved in.

“The organisations themselves certainly wouldn’t be able to function without that community support.”

Whilst he knew he had been nominated, Mr Palmer said he had ‘no idea’ how successful the nomination would be.

“I definitely have my suspicions about who may have nominated me but they don’t divulge that information,” he said.

Family and friends of Mr Palmer are said to be excited and ‘very proud’, with some set to make the trip down to Albany where he’ll be holding the baton.

Mr Palmer said, having seen and traveled most of the country during his life, he was proud to be representing Esperance.

“Originally, I moved back to Esperance because of the locations and beaches and all but, being back here, it’s the friends, it's the family, it’s the people, that would be why I’m still here,” he said.

“Along with the weather and the location, these beaches are a pretty great backdrop to your life, aren’t they?

“I had the pleasure of doing a trip around Australia and, when I got home, I had all these people asking me what my favourite part of Australia was and I just looked them straight in the eye and said ‘Esperance’.

I’d be happy to do it all again, as a visitor, and come back home to Esperance.”

Mr Palmer joked he could potentially begin training for the baton run, due to take place on February 22.

“I might just go into training, 200 metres is a long way at my age,” he said.

Thousands of ‘local legends’ around Australia have been nominated to take part in next year’s ceremony.

Batonbearers are nominated by their community to recognise their achievements and contributions and to represent the spirit of the Commonwealth, inspiring others to be great.