Shropshire Star

‘More than 10,000’ performers parade in London for New Year’s Day celebration

Entertainers hailed in 2024 across the city centre during London’s New Year’s Day Parade.

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Performers during the New Year’s Day Parade in London

More than 10,000 performers from across the globe are said to have paraded through London to celebrate New Year’s Day.

Entertainers wearing gold outfits danced to Abba’s music, a brass band wearing green uniforms played to crowds and a cheerleading troupe put on a show.

Quad bike riders executed stunts in the city centre and a convoy of Aston Martins travelled through the roads as the drivers waved.

The event attracted 2,000 performers when it started in 1987 but now has more than 10,000 participants from all over the world, organisers said.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, people hailed in 2024 with a swim in the Firth of Forth estuary in the annual Loony Dook tradition at the Boathouse, South Queensferry.

London’s New Year’s Day Parade
Performers during the New Year’s Day Parade in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

Participants ‘dooked’ – or bathed – in fancy dress to raise money for charity, with some carrying bright inflatable water toys and Scottish flags, while one dressed as an octopus and another wore a spotted-dog onesie.

Women smiled as they walked out of the sea dressed as iridescent green mermaids.

Groups rushed into the sea in places from County Wicklow in Ireland to Ramsgate in Kent.

Members of the Bray Beach Bathers, wearing red swimming costumes and white gloves, stood under umbrellas covered in streams of silver tinsel at Bray Beach, County Wicklow, before going for a dip.

Members of the Bray Beach Bathers arrive to take part in the annual New Year’s day charity swim on Bray seafront in County Wicklow
Members of the Bray Beach Bathers arrive to take part in the annual New Year’s day charity swim on Bray seafront in County Wicklow (Brian Lawless/PA)

The new year started with a bang as fireworks and drones lit up the sky in London and celebrations took place in Edinburgh and other cities across the country.

After the bongs of Big Ben sounded at midnight, “London: A Place for Everyone” appeared high above the crowds on the banks of the Thames as the unity-themed display welcomed 2024.

In a display that lasted almost 15 minutes, 100,000 people cast their eyes upwards to take in the fireworks, lasers and drones spectacular.

As hits by the Spice Girls, Calvin Harris, Dua Lupa and others rang out, revellers were invited to look back on 2023.

People take part in a Loony Dook New Year’s Day dip in the Firth of Forth at Kinghorn in Fife
People take part in a Loony Dook New Year’s Day dip in the Firth of Forth at Kinghorn in Fife (Jane Barlow/PA)

The celebration referenced the King’s coronation and also used Charles’s quote to mark the 75th anniversary of the Windrush crossing, in which he said the new arrivals “collectively enrich the fabric of our national life”.

The display – which included more than 12,000 fireworks, 600 drones and 430 lights – also paid homage to the NHS, which celebrated 75 years in 2023.

New Year 2024 celebrations
The London Eye sat at the centre of the New Year’s Eye firework extravaganza (Victoria Jones/PA)

The show was organised by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who said it was London’s “best and biggest” New Year celebration.

Mr Khan said: “Our unique combination of fireworks, drones, lighting and music have put on a fabulous show for the millions watching around the globe, sending a message of unity and showing why London is the greatest city in the world.

“2023 was filled with so many special moments, and as we move into 2024, I feel more inspired than ever to continue our work towards building a better, greener and more prosperous city for everyone.”

New Year’s Day dip
People take part in the Loony Dook New Year’s Day dip (Jane Barlow/PA)

Scotland’s Hogmanay celebrations were just as impressive, with music from English rock band Pulp entertaining the crowds as fireworks forked overhead.

Thousands gathered at the sold-out Princes Garden Street Party and Concert in the Gardens for the festival’s 30th anniversary, which is widely regarded as one of the world’s best places to ring in the New Year.

Some were left impressed by what Hogmanay had to offer.

Mark Wright, 50, said: “This is the first time I’ve been here. The fireworks were brilliant.

“I’ll be here next year, straight away. As soon as I get home I’ll be booking up for next year.”

Alice, 42, a Londoner who ditched the capital for the northern festival, said she left her children at home for an “incredible” New Year’s Eve full of retro tunes.

New Year 2024 celebrations
Revellers from Manchester and Liverpool at the Hogmanay New Year celebrations in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

“Could there be a band more perfect for this than Pulp? Possibly only Blondie – I couldn’t think of a better band,” she told the PA news agency.

“The fireworks were incredible; they went on and on and on.

“We’re from London and Hogmanay is one of those things you always feel is a bit overdone, but it’s been incredible and to have snuck into the VIP area by accident is excellent.”

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