TALL SHIPS SLIDESHOW: Crews and colourful characters on parade

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Ships crews - real and make-believe - paraded through the streets of Blyth today.

More than 1,000 crew and local people took part in a fabulous event to commemorate the second day of the Tall Ships coming to Northumberland.

The Tall Ships crew and community parade. Picture by John Tuttiett Photography

The Tall Ships crew and community parade. Picture by John Tuttiett Photography

Crews from the 23 ships berthed in the town for the four-day spectacular wound their way through their adopted home.

Alongside the uniformed crews were bands of pirates, Vikings and even a kilted Scot on a mobility scooter

The Blyth Carnival, organised by Headway Arts, was part of an exciting cultural programme of events for The North Sea Tall Ships Regatta Blyth 2016 thanks to support from the Arts Council England. The carnival last took place in the late 1980s.

Regatta organisers secured £120,000 from Arts Council England and National Lottery funded Grants for the Arts programme to support the plans which include the re-imagining of the carnival.

The grant is also supporting the large scale evening performances of music, image and pyrotechnics complemented as well as international street theatre, music and circus over the August bank holiday event.

Coun Val Tyler, cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, Northumberland County Council: “It’s been another amazing day in Blyth, with the carnival and crew parade being a personal highlight - the efforts by everyone involved was very evident from the smiles on the faces of everyone who came.”

Martin Lawlor, chief executive, Port of Blyth said: “The Regatta is in full-swing now and today has been extremely popular with visitors coming from near and far to see the ships and enjoy all the entertainment. It really is an impressive sight.”

Alan Ferguson, chairman of Fergusons of Blyth, the event’s principal sponsor, said: “The sights, sounds and colour of the Regatta today have been truly memorable and testament to all the hard work which has gone on in the run-up to and during the Regatta."

Lisa O’Connor, from Blyth, said: “I want to say what a spectacular event my home town Blyth has put on for us. The organisers have done an amazing job - made us all proud of this town. The organisers certainly planned this event amazing. Thank you for a wonderful time, fireworks, etc. You made us all proud of our home town.”

The county council, in partnership with the Port of Blyth and Sail Training International, is hosting the prestigious Regatta. Fergusons of Blyth, one of the UK’s leading privately-owned haulage companies and the biggest in the North East, is the principal sponsor in celebration of its 90th anniversary.

The Regattat will be open until 10pm today and Sunday and 5pm on Monday.

Visitors can still benefit from the discounted event parking rate of £5 (+50p booking fee) until midnight the night before the day they wish to attend, by visiting http://www.tallshipsblyth2016.com/parkandride#info Or parking is £10 cash only on the day.

There is no event parking in Blyth town centre over the weekend but an extensive park and ride system is in operation. For full details visit www.tallshipsblyth2016.com