Helping is the Norm

Helping is the Norm

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Kelmscott Senior High School employee Norm Hammond has been selected to travel around Australia for 70 days in the build-up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

A Kelmscott Senior High School employee will hit the road for 10 weeks next year as part of a support crew to runners and media personnel who will be carrying the baton in the lead up the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

From January KSH Agriculture Awareness Program co-ordinator Norm Hammond will travel in a convoy leading baton carriers as they move from state to state visiting cities across the country including Karratha, Alice Springs, Melbourne and Adelaide before finishing on the Gold Coast in April.

Mr Hammond has already participated in pre-events such as the 2000 Sydney Olympic Torch Relay for 100 days and the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Queens Baton Relay for 50 days.

He said he could not turn down the opportunity to do it again.

“It’s a 70-day event so quite challenging,” he said.

“I’ll be thrown in the middle of the convoy driving a Winnebago along with all of the media directly in front of the runner.”

Mr Hammond and his support crew will be on the move for up to 10 hours a day and when in the driver’s seat will keep to a strict speed quick enough to keep the vehicle ahead of runners but not so fast as to keep media with him from getting the best shots.

However Mr Hammond will not spend his entire time behind the steering wheel.

On January 26 he will get to run with the Queen’s Baton for a short distance through Guildford.

He said his past experiences supporting relays had brought him face-to-face with well-known Australian personalities including Jimmy Barnes, Rove McManus, Daryl Somers and former world champion marathon runner Robert De Castella.

“I have the most excellent photos and of course for them it’s a memorable occasion meeting Norm Hammond,” he said.

However he said the event was not only about meeting celebrities and taking photos.

“It’s very rewarding, very exhausting,” he said.

“I’m looking forward to this one.”

No stranger to lending a helping hand Mr Hammond has delivered food to the needy for more than a decade and currently assists elderly and single-parent families in the foothills area with gardening.

The Commonwealth Games has billed itself as the largest Australian sporting event of the decade and will kick off in April 2018.