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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 January 2006, 15:08 GMT
New Year parade draws thousands
A part of the brass section of an American marching band
Crowds turned out to watch the bands despite damp weather
Thousands of people lined the streets of London to watch the 20th New Year's Day parade.

More than 10,000 performers from across the world made their way through the city on a two-mile route from Parliament Square to Piccadilly.

Large crowds turned out despite the damp weather and the event clashing with a Tube strike.

In previous years the marching bands, clowns and carnival queens have drawn almost half a million spectators.

A special message from the Queen was read out by Roger Bramble, the deputy Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, when Big Ben struck midday.

We are absolutely delighted with the turnout... the streets are packed, despite worries about the transport strike
Bob Bone, parade organiser

A host of entertainment, including giant inflatable cartoon characters, mods and rockers and vintage cars, then started making their way along the route.

Robert Davies, from Westminster Council, said: "It [the parade] really shows what London is really made of. It can attract people from around the world to see what exciting things Westminster and London can do.

"It shows everyone how superb we are at organising events like this."

London's New Year Parade US senior representative Powell Johann told BBC News the 6,000 American participants took part in the event because London was the greatest city in the world.

'Warm welcome'

"It is the finest event in the world of its kind," he said.

"There's nothing like it. It's the excitement, it's the warm welcome, it's London."

Earlier this week, organisers expressed concerns that a walkout by London Underground staff which was due to end at noon on 1 January, would mean few people would be able to get into central London in time for the start of the parade.

But on Sunday parade organiser Bob Bone said: "We are absolutely delighted with the turnout. The streets are packed, despite worries about the transport strike."

Last year's event attracted about 480,000 people and raised thousands of pounds for the appeal for victims of the Asian tsunami.




SEE ALSO:
Tube strike had 'little impact'
01 Jan 06 |  London
In pictures: New Year 2005
01 Jan 05 |  In Pictures


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