Marianne Young

Marianne Young

High Commissioner, Windhoek

Part of UK in Namibia

30th January 2014 Windhoek, Namibia

A touch of the Highlands in the desert: The Commonwealth Queen’s baton comes to Namibia

The Queen’s Commonwealth baton has just spent a fun two days in Namibia as part of its journey through 70 of the world’s Commonwealth countries on its way to the start of the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July.

baton with Nam officials_opening night_webbie

The British High Commission was delighted to play a part in the festivities in its role as representing the Game’s host nation – and used the occasion to celebrate what is set to be a fantastic sporting event featuring 4,500 athletes competing in 17 sports as well as all things Scottish and the Commonwealth values and family.

UNICEF_Marianne Young_Ekandjo_Botswana_NSC_webbie

In what was an impressive programme organised by the Namibian National Olympic Committee, the baton was flown by helicopter into the capital, Windhoek’s city centre after its arrival at the airport on 28 January and was taken on a city tour by various athletes the following day. Its journey culminated in a formal handover ceremony by the Deputy Prime Minister to the High Commission from Botswana – its next destination – at the National Assembly yesterday.

passing on the baton_Email

During the course of this tour, we were fortunate enough to host the baton at the British High Commission premises – meaning it spent a short time on British turf before it wound its way northwards again to the UK.

Baton with UK High Commissioner_ Scotish Kilts_ BagPiper_Webbie

The British, business and diplomatic communities, as well as local officials, turned out in force to join us for a special Scottish themed tea reception, including whiskey generously sponsored by Distell, salmon on oak cakes and oat cookies.

An extra special thanks must go to British community member, Hilary Gunning, who baked fantastic homemade Scottish shortbread for the occasion – and to British Business Group member Weatherly, who helped organise the attendance of Scottish bagpiper Michael Langley  (flown in specially from South Africa), who really helped make the event special with his fabulous piping skills. It was a wonderful last minute addition to the line up, which really added colour to the event and introduced Windhoek to the joys of Scottish piping and how best to wear your tartan.

HE Marianne Young handing Cheque to PAY_Email

The British High Commission also arranged for the baton to be taken to the offices of local sporting/educational NGO Physically Active Youth (PAY) in Katutura, which organises after school activity programmes incorporating sports and life skills training to empower local youth, and made a N$12,000 donation to support their planned nationwide roll-out and secure a beneficial local sporting legacy from the Games in Namibia.

Namibian cycling legend Dan Craven joined us for the event and will feature in the BBC’s planned documentary covering the relay to explain how important sports are to help empower the young community members of Katutura – and how PAY’s cycling programme may lead to the inclusion of two of its cyclists in the Glasgow Games, depending on upcoming qualification requirements. So fingers crossed.

Baton at PAY with Dan Graven_III_Emai

I used the various opportunities to tell local audiences that the Queen’s Baton Relay is an important part of each Games – signifying the core values of the Commonwealth, which include humanity and equality. The first Queen’s Baton Relay was staged at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff and has been the curtain raiser to the Games ever since. To follow the baton visit

The titanium baton itself was designed by two graduates from the Glasgow School of Art using a boatbuilding technique called bird-mouthing. Its handle is made of elm wood from the Isle of Cumbrae – a tribute to Scotland’s natural resources. It was much lighter than I was expecting and a great example of British creativity – combining leading edge technology with traditional skills and craft. In its core, it contains a message that the Queen placed inside it in October, which will be read out at the start of the Games.

It is my sincere hope that both the baton and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will help bring Scotland, the UK, Namibia and all the people of the Commonwealth closer together in the spirit of friendship, respect and sporting excellence. Best of luck to all of those taking part – you will be sure to receive a very warm welcome in Glasgow and we look forward to hosting you there!

About Marianne Young

Marianne Young is the current British High Commissioner to the Republic of Namibia. She arrived in Windhoek in June 2011 and presented her credentials to the President of the Republic of…

Marianne Young is the current British High Commissioner to the
Republic of Namibia. She arrived in Windhoek in June 2011 and presented
her credentials to the President of the Republic of Namibia on 3rd
Mrs Young joined the FCO in 2001 following a career in international
journalism, including time spent running an Asian maritime press office
in Singapore and a traineeship on the UK’s Times newspaper.
Her first role in the FCO was as a Press Officer in News Department,
after which she went on to be Head of the Great Lakes Section in Africa
Directorate and then Head of the East Africa & Horn Section.
In 2005, she became the first Head of Communications for the Engaging with the Islamic World Group.
She moved to the British High Commission in Pretoria in February 2007
and served as the Head of the External Political Section and Deputy
High Commissioner to the Kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland.
Mrs Young moved across to the British High Commission in Windhoek in
June 2011, and presented her credentials to the President of the
Republic of Namibia on 3rd August 2011.
On her appointment as British High Commissioner to the Republic of Namibia, Mrs Young said:
“I am honoured and delighted to be appointed Her Majesty’s High
Commissioner to Namibia. I look forward to working to strengthen the
many commercial, political and cultural ties between our two countries,
and to help the many British nationals who holiday there. My family and I
are particularly thrilled to be remaining in southern Africa – and to
have the opportunity to explore this beautiful country further and
discover more about its people and culture.”
Curriculum vitae

Full name:
Marianne Young

Married to:
Barry Young

Two daughters and one son

June 2011
Windhoek, British High Commissioner

2007 – 2011
Pretoria, Head of External Political Section and DHC for the Kingdoms of Lesotho and Swaziland

2005 – 2006
FCO, Head of Communications, Engaging with the Islamic World Group

2004 – 2005
FCO, Head of East Africa & Horn Section, Africa Directorate

3/2003 – 8/2003
FCO, Head of Great Lakes Section, Africa Directorate

2002 – 2003
FCO, Press Officer, Press Office

2001 – 2002
FCO, Departmental Report Editor, Press Office

Joined FCO

Senior Correspondent, Fairplay Group, UK

Staff Editor and then Asia Editor, Fairplay Group Singapore

Graduate Trainee at The Times newspaper, UK

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