Bury St Edmund’s to host Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay

Bury St Edmund’s to host Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay

On 9th of July 2022, the baton from the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay will pass through Bury St Edmunds in the trusted hands of Army veteran, Wendy Hooton a good cause champion and Army veteran from Bury St Edmunds who is ensuring that female veterans stay in the public eye. (Hear Wendy speak to BBC Radio Suffolk here about female veterans in 2020.)

Wendy was in the WRAC (Women’s Royal Army Corps) for 18 years, serving as a Warrant Officer attached to the Royal Corps of Signals in Cyprus, Australia, Hong-Kong and Germany as well as Britain. This year, she was chosen to be Baton Bearer to champion her fundraising efforts for the WRAC Association, which is the only charity which specifically supports female veterans, including those who served in WW2.

Impressively, Wendy has been raising money for the WRAC association since 2013, including raising funds towards £30,000 for the WRAC statue now in place at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire. She recently raised £1,300 for the charity at the Bury St Edmond’s Beer & Cider Festival in August 2021.


The Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay brings together communities and cities across the Commonwealth in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games. Baton Bearers are selected for being inspirational figures of their community who are always ready to take on a challenge: those who’ve made a tangible, positive impact on communities around them.

This year’s high-tech baton has been making its way 140,000km across the Commonwealth, passing through 7,500 other Baton Bearers internationally. The baton itself is extremely high tech, equipped with ​​sensors to measure the heart rate of the baton bearers, and fitted with ‘lungs’ for measuring atmospheric conditions, whereby all data is sent to the University of Birmingham for research purposes.


It is a fitting honour that Wendy has been selected this year as a Baton Bearer, after being nominated by her friend and fellow Army veteran, Barbara ‘Babs’ Anderson. Furthermore, the auspicious day (9th July) will be particularly significant as it will mark the 20th anniversary of the death of her husband Colin Hooton, a well-known figure in the community as he was the landlord of popular pub, “The Ipswich Arms” (now “The Beer House”) from 1990 to 1999.

Colin will be in her thoughts, but also cheering her along on the day will be Local Councillors, Robert Everitt and Patrick Chung, as well as a crowd of Wendy’s family and friends.


Wendy is keen to ensure that women who served see themselves as veterans, and hopes that her presence will help to achieve this. Recent reports and research including the ‘We Also Served’ report highlight how women often do not identify as veterans, and then do not access the veteran support services that their male counterparts use. This leads to disadvantages in accessing specific healthcare provisions and benevolence that is available to support struggling ex-servicewomen.

Wendy gives up much of her time to raise money to support women who serve or served in the WRAC (which was disbanded in 1992, when women could join male counterparts in regiments). Each year, Wendy and her team take part in sponsored runs, walks and even a cycle in order to raise money for the WRAC Association. Her latest success was hosting the 10th anniversary of the Manchester 10k, in which a team of WRAC ‘Lionesses’ took part, raising over £8,000 so far, including gift aid. (There’s still time to donate here.)

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