Batonbearer Gerry Hughes on his part in the Queen's Baton Relay
Record-breaking deaf yachtsman carries baton in hometown ahead of Glasgow Commononwealth Games 2014
The first deaf yachtsman to solo circumnavigate the world hopes his role as a batonbearer will showcase the potential of the deaf community ahead of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014
Not for nothing is the Queen’s Baton Relay the precursor to the XX Commonwealth Games. Sure, the athletes are the beating heart of any global sporting event, but community spirit is what makes any such occasion truly soar. And while the spotlight has inevitably lingered on the more A-list batonbearers from the world of acting and comedy, it’s the stories of the local heroes, nominated for the relay, that truly inspire. In scale and design, it’s an awesome journey to be part of. By the time it finishes in Glasgow for the start of the Games, the baton will, over 288 days, have visited 70 nations and territories and covered a whopping 190,000 kilometres. Engaging, fact fans, with a third of the world’s population.
For ‘proud Glaswegian’ Gerry Hughes, who picks up the baton in his native turf on 22 July, the relay will be yet another achievement to add to an already impressive stable. Incredibly, the first deaf yachtsman to solo circumnavigate the world via all Five Great Capes, Hughes has overcome adversity from a young age. Born deaf, beyond his remarkable sailing achievements Hughes has also represented Scotland six times in the World Deaf Golf Championships. When he’s not flexing his sporting muscles, he enjoys his day job, teaching deaf children in Glasgow. He’s optimistic that his part in the relay will show people the potential of what the deaf community can do. Hughes explains: ‘I hope that this will help people understand that deaf people have skills and talents.’
‘I have faced many barriers in my life. It has often been hard for me to get people to see beyond my deafness and instead to see my real potential. Over the years many well-meaning people have tried to save me from the disappointment of failure by discouraging me from pursuing “unrealistic goals”.’
Yet Hughes has excelled time and time again. ‘I have achieved my dream of being on Sir Robin-Knox Johnston’s list of solo circumnavigators, not because I am deaf, but because I have demonstrated that I am a skilled yachtsman. I hope that anyone who faces challenges in their lives will see that it is possible for them to achieve their goals if they believe in their own ability and are prepared to work hard.’