Joyous celebrations in Luton as town hails team's fairytale rise to the Premier League

Thousands of fans packed the streets of Luton as their triumphant football team staged an open-top bus parade to celebrate their historic promotion to the Premier League.

The Mayor had urged fans to come and help "paint the town orange" as the town revels in the fairytale rise of the Hatters up the football leagues.

The team left their ground at Kenilworth Road and headed to a main square in the town.

Players, staff and families were cheered as they climbed aboard the buses while drummers saluted them.

Goal scorer Jordan Clark waves to fans as he gets on the bus Credit: PA Images

But captain Tom Lockyer, who collapsed on the pitch during the final, had to watch the procession from his hospital bed where he is still undergoing tests.

The team carried the Championship trophy with them as their buses crawled through the narrow terraced streets surrounding the 1905 stadium towards the town centre.

The old-fashioned ground with a capacity of just 10,356 needs improvements costing £10 million to make it fit to host Premier League games.

Sonny Bradley carries the Championship trophy out of Kenilworth Road as the team head for the open top buses Credit: PA Images

Fan Natasha Lawrence said: "I'm just buzzing. It's awesome. It's been a long time coming and they've done it. I'm still in shock I think."

Husband Robert said he was a lifelong Hatters fan and was overjoyed by what had happened.

Natasha and Robert Lawrence at the parade Credit: ITV Anglia

He added: "I'm overwhelmed by it really. We just need the new ground to happen now and the atmosphere will get better and we'll be on the up. I'm so happy I can't put it into words."

Players, staff and families travelled by open-top bus along a mile-long route to St George’s Square.

Fans in the crowd carried banners with the message: "Our team, our town, our time."

The bus made its way down Dunstable Road cheered on by local people and local businesses from the Bury Park Business Forum.

Luton fans wait to cheer their team through the streets Credit: PA Images

The streets were lined with joyful supporters wearing the team's distinctive orange colours.

Fan Kwesi Adubatey said he was finding it hard to put his feelings into words.

He said: "I'm so excited. I was at Wembley as well - the whole experience - I mean come on Luton, it's coming home! I'm just ecstatic."

Luton fans Kwesi and Mikael Adubatey Credit: ITV Anglia

Luton was promoted to the Premier League after a tense play-off final which ended in a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over rivals Coventry.

They are back in the top flight for the first time in 31 years and have made history as the only team to rise from non-league to the Premier League.

Luton Borough Council had encouraged the town to give the team the "reception of their lives" on Bank Holiday Monday.

The town hall is decked out with banners Credit: PA Images

The event was part of a weekend of festivities in Luton as the town staged its 49th carnival on the Bank Holiday Sunday, contributors enjoying a double celebration as they toasted the Hatters' success on the streets.

Highlights of the season were being shown on a big screen, so fans could relive some of the moments that had brought the team to this point.

Players, staff and key figures at the club were interviewed on a big stage in St George's Square.

Luton’s Mayor, Councillor Mohammad Yaqub Hanif presented the team with the play-off trophy.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...