Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Friday, 1 January 2010

Thousands attend London's New Year's Day Parade

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Performers parade along the streets of London in the New Year's Day Parade

More than half a million people lined the streets of central London for the New Year's Day Parade.

The parade, now in its 24th year, covered a two-mile route, starting at Piccadilly at midday and ending in Parliament Street at 1500 GMT.

This year performers marched the route in reverse to give 100 million US TV watchers the best views of London.

The show, which drew the "biggest crowd ever", featured 8,500 performers from 20 countries and 22 London boroughs.

'Biggest crowd ever'

Organisers said they reversed the route for US broadcasters who wanted their audience to see sights such as Big Ben and Trafalgar Square.

The parade has long been popular in the US and nearly 4,000 Americans took part in 24 different marching bands last year.

The event was broadcast live by about 550 television stations around the world - including in China and Australia - targeting a global audience of 240 million people.

Dan Kirkby, the communications director for the parade, said it was "vital" for tourism.

An American marching band
The show was broadcast live in several countries including the US and China

He said: "We're delighted with the crowd, it's the biggest we've ever had.

"These are great pictures of iconic London and we're hoping to get the cash registers ringing for the new year."

The Saitama Sakae Baton Team from Japan, Parisian cheerleaders and American marching bands were the highlights of the 2010 parade.

The parade also included a recorded welcome to the crowds from London's town crier Peter Moore, who recorded the greeting before his death earlier this month.

Mr Moore, who had been the town crier for 31 years, had appeared in every New Year's Day parade since the first in 1987.



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