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As Official Overlay Supporter of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, GL events UK is honoured to nominate a number of Batonbearers for the Queen’s Baton Relay. Elizabeth ‘Lizey’ Thomson is the latest of our nominations and was put forward through our social value partner, Canal & River Trust.

A Birmingham local, Lizey is a Heritage Advisor for Canal & River Trust and describes the main responsibilities of her role thus, “Primarily, my role is to uncover the history of a building. This prompts those thought-provoking questions about why the building is significant. ‘Was it built by an important architect? Has someone important visited the building in years gone by?’ or ‘Are there stories that reveal both positive or negative histories associated with the building that make us look at history in a new light?’ Then we need to repair the structure properly which involves understanding building techniques, traditional crafts, types of materials and who made the bricks.”

Lizey has been nominated due to her voracious passion for heritage and extensive knowledge of the canals across Birmingham and the Black Country, predominately from the industrial revolution. She is open to sharing her commitment for nurturing, protecting and repairing heritage, and is a champion of promoting the stories of the people who created and lived on these waterways.

Lizey has played a crucial role in bringing Roundhouse Birmingham back to life, which having been vacant for many years, has now benefited from a £5million restoration project. Reviving the Roundhouse began in 2013, through a collaboration between a range of partners and funders, including Canal & River Trust and National Trust. Lizey’s aim is to protect valuable heritage as legacy for generations to come, which corresponds with the aims of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and renders her a worthy Batonbearer.

Through heritage, we learn about who we are and what we have in common. That to me, is what is important.

Elizabeth ThomsonHeritage Adviser - Canal & River Trust

Lizey’s longstanding affinity with sport doesn’t go unnoticed, “I’ve had a big connection with sport my whole life. I regularly jog and cycle around the canals, and actively encourage my kids to be active as well. Currently they swim, dance, cycle and do athletics. Events like the Commonwealth Games are really important to us as family, my kids are genuinely excited, as events like rarely happen in Birmingham! They look up to athletes and sports stars, it’s a big part of our lives.”

Lizey finishes by exploring the ways that the Commonwealth Games is important to her. “For me personally, it makes sport more relevant to the majority of people. For example, like many others, I don’t do things like skiing or shooting. So when I see more relatable sports being represented, it feels more real and that’s why events such as these are innately important to me.”

Lizey’s passion for preserving the heritage of Birmingham and the West Midlands, and keeping this heritage alive for others through education and storytelling, encapsulates perfectly the mission of the Games to create legacy – and hopefully will inspire the actions of others in the future.  GL events UK wishes Lizey every success in her endeavours, both in her role as a Heritage Advisor, and as a Batonbearer for the Queens Baton Relay.