Mount Isa man to run the Queen’s baton relay in Seisia

BATONBEARER: Mount Isa man John Neal to run the Seisia leg in the baton relay. Photo: Melissa North
BATONBEARER: Mount Isa man John Neal to run the Seisia leg in the baton relay. Photo: Melissa North

Woolworths store manager, John Neal, is over the moon about being selected as the batonbearer on the Seisia leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay (QBR) which will occur on Sunday March 4.

Mr Neal will run his 200 metre leg in a small town called Seisia approximately 40 kms from the tip of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, at 12.20pm. 

According to the 2016 census 260 people reside in the remote town.

“I grew up in the small town of Gympie in Queensland, and with Mount Isa also being a small town, I know I’ll feel right at home in Seisia.

“I really enjoy living in Mount Isa but I have not travelled up the Cape way yet, so I am looking forward to the trip,” Mr Neal said.

The call for nominations for batonbearers went out early last year with thousands of people nominated.

However only a select 380 people were chosen for this prestigious honour.

Mr Neal said Woolworths had nominated him and he didn’t know anything about it until early October.

“I received an email about the nomination however until then, I knew nothing about it,” Mr Neal said.

“I rang my Area manager and questioned him, he said I had been nominated by the Woolworths, I was extremely proud to say the very least.

“I found out early October 2017 that I had been successful and I must say it was a very proud moment both personally and professionally for me,” he said.

Mr Neal said he arrived in Mount Isa in June 2015 after being appointment as the new store manager at Woolworths in Pioneer.

“I had been working in the retail industry for the past 20 years and after 12 months of being assigned at Pioneer, I was transferred into the city location,” Mr Neal said.

To be nominated as a batonbearer the individual had to achieve something extraordinary or inspired other people with in the community.

“I support the local PCYC in Mount Isa and various sporting clubs and organisations with donations of fruit, sausages, bread or gift cards,” Mr Neal said.

“I believe it is important for big businesses such as Woolworths to give back to the local community.”

The Queensland Baton Relay carries a message from Queen Elizabeth II that unites athletes from around the world to come together in friendly competition.

The relay baton will be passed on as it travels for 100 days across all states and territories of Australia. 

The baton arrived in Australia on Christmas Eve, 2017 and will make it’s way to Main Beach at the Gold Coast on Wednesday, April 4.