New Year parade goes with a swing

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Cheerleaders from the Universal Cheerleaders Association take part during the annual New Years Day Parade in London Cheerleaders from the Universal Cheerleaders Association take part during the annual New Years Day Parade in London

Tens of thousands of people have poured into the streets of London for a "swinging sixties" New Year's Day parade.

The New Year parade in London features cheerleaders, acrobats and a host of musical tribute acts as part of the city's retrospective introduction to 2014.

The pageant, which has been organised annually since 1987, features more than 8,500 performers from across the world, including cheerleaders, acrobats and musicians.

The parade aimed to transport revellers 50 years into the past with a "groovy" mix of flare-clad dancers, The Beatles tribute bands and historic floats.

Bob Bone, the parade's executive director and founder, said the event started because he "wanted to cheer up London".

"Before we started it was really grim here," he said. "Shops didn't open much, restaurants were closed, theatres were dark.

"So we thought, let's brighten up London on New Year's Day, and I think we've succeeded."

DJ and broadcaster Mike Read, who rode on one of the parade's floats, said: "It's surprising the event is better known around the world than it is here.

"It's good that we're setting it in the English sixties," he added.

"After the Second World War and the austerity of the fifties, we became the world's focus for the right reasons; for culture, media and sport."

The event followed a night of celebrations that saw millions of people across the UK welcome the start of 2014 with fireworks, music and late-night partying.

Hundreds of thousands of people are estimated to have lined the banks of the River Thames for the annual midnight fireworks while 80,000 descended on Edinburgh for the Hogmanay street party.

Revellers in London enjoyed what was billed as "the world's first multi-sensory fireworks display", when peach snow and orange-scented bubbles descended on a section of the crowd.

The result of the evening's entertainment was almost 85 tonnes of waste, including 15,000 empty champagne bottles, which was the focus of a mammoth overnight clean-up operation.

For some, the night turned sour with 100 people being arrested across London for a litany of typical night-out offences.

The Metropolitan Police said officers arrested 39 people for drunk and disorderly behaviour, 21 for assault, 16 for affray, six for drug related offences, six for public order offences and four others.

The force had 3,800 officers on duty for fireworks alone, while London Ambulance Service received 2,588 calls between midnight and 5am, almost four times the usual amount.

Chief Inspector Robyn Williams said: "Visitors were not put off by the threat of wind and rain and the viewing areas filled up quicker than ever before.

"Officers worked hard, alongside stewards, to keep people safe during the event and ensure that everyone who came into central London was able to make their way home at the end of the night.

"Crowds were good natured and there were no major issues reported to police."

Katy Millard, the assistant director of operations at London Ambulance Service, said: "It's the busiest night of the year for us and unfortunately not everyone was using us wisely.

"Many of our medics were tied up helping people with drink related illnesses and injuries - preventing them from responding to other patients."

The service treated 438 patients at more than a dozen treatment centres in central London, and sent 88 injured people to hospital.

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