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Cheshire charity worker selected as a Batonbearer for Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay

A charity worker from Cheshire has been nominated by Sport Relief and selected to be a Batonbearer in the prestigious Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay.

Ruth Williams, 42, co-founded Smile Group, a charity in East Cheshire that benefits from money raised by Sport Relief, to support parents who are experiencing perinatal mental health challenges by offering group support, talk therapy, wellbeing walks and home visits. 

To recognise and celebrate Ruth’s passion and dedication to making a difference in her community, she has been nominated to carry The Queen’s Baton as it travels through England this summer ahead of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Ruth will be carrying the Baton through Northwich on Sunday 17 July. 

On being invited to join the Relay, Ruth said: “I felt a bit embarrassed to start with, but it’s really nice for people to have been so kind about me and the work I do. Even to be nominated is an honour, I’m speechless, and so pleased and honoured. 

“My eldest daughter will definitely be in my mind as I run with the Baton as she started my whole journey with Smile, so I’ll be thinking about her and my family, as well as all the families we’ve supported over the years.” 

Ruth struggled with her mental health in the weeks after giving birth to her first daughter. At one point, she stood on a bridge wondering if she could carry on. When she sought help, she felt there was a gap in community support services in East Cheshire for people with maternal mental health issues. This first-hand experience led her to create Smile Group. 

Ruth said: “I didn’t want anyone to have to go through what I had gone through, I wanted there to be a place any parent could turn to for help and support, and someone else to talk to. The reality of being a new parent is that it can be isolating and lonely and people can have thoughts like ‘I don’t know if I can do this’, or ‘I’m not sure I love my baby’ – we provide a space where you can have those kinds of conversations.” 

She added: “It’s such a good feeling when you know you’ve been able to support someone and make a real difference. It’s amazing to think you can change people’s lives like that.” 

Having been on a 294-day journey, visiting all nations and territories of the Commonwealth, the Baton will be touring the host nation of England, finishing in the host city of Birmingham, where it will take a central role in the Opening Ceremony on 28 July 2022. 

Samir Patel, Chief Executive of Comic Relief, says: “It’s a huge honour for Ruth to be a part of the Birmingham 2022 Queen’s Baton Relay and we are so proud of her. This Relay not only marks the start of an incredible summer of sport, it is also an example of how sport has the power to unite and connect people across the UK and the globe. 

“It is fantastic that Sport Relief is a charity partner of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. Together, with the help of the amazing British public, we’re hoping to raise life-changing funds to tackle inequality, improve mental health and help young people to survive and thrive.” 

Sport Relief is an official charity partner of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, alongside United By 2022 and the Commonwealth Sport Foundation, and hopes to raise money this summer to help change lives for the better. To find out how you can get involved, visit:  

comicrelief.com/sportrelief 

Sport Relief is a year-round fundraising campaign run by the charity, Comic Relief. 

Sport Relief harnesses the power of sport and entertainment to bring people together across the UK, to get active, have fun and raise life-changing funds. Since launching in 2002, Sport Relief has raised £419 million so far, thanks to the generous British public, and supported millions of lives in the UK and around the world. 
 
This year, Sport Relief is teaming up with United By 2022 and the Commonwealth Sport Foundation to celebrate an incredible summer of sport as the official charity partners of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. 
 
Together we hope to inspire the nation through a shared love of sport, to use this momentous sporting event as an opportunity to raise money to change lives for the better. Sport Relief aims to raise money to take on important issues, including tackling inequality, improving mental health and helping young people to survive and thrive in Birmingham, across the UK, around the Commonwealth and beyond. 
 
Sport Relief is an initiative of Comic Relief, operating name of Charity Projects, registered charity in England & Wales (326568) and Scotland (SC039730). For more information about Sport Relief, please visit:

https://www.comicrelief.com/sportrelief  

Instagram: @ComicRelief |Twitter: @ComicRelief | Facebook: @ComicRelief | Tik Tok: @ComicRelief  

Comic Relief raises money to support people living incredibly tough lives in the UK and around the world. Through humour and stories of hope, we have shown that people can make a massive difference.    

Comic Relief believes that those who are closest to the issues have the best solutions, and so works with organisations and people with direct experience of these challenges. We fund hundreds of amazing organisations who support the most vulnerable people and communities in society. This includes vulnerable children and young people, people who are homeless or who have been forced to flee their homes, women and families at risk of domestic abuse and those struggling with mental health problems.   

For information about Comic Relief and the work it carries out, please visit:

www.comicrelief.com

Pictured - Ruth Williams co-founder of the Smile Group.  

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