Manchester Day: Thousands enjoy the parade and Little Amal's return

Video report by ITV News journalist Emma Sweeney.

Thousands of people have taken part and enjoyed the Manchester Day celebrations around the city centre.

Syrian puppet girl Little Amal was the star of the show as she returned to the region for the first time since her triumphant tour last year.

Councillor Pat Karney, Chair of Manchester Day, said: "We are so glad to be back after the pandemic and we're putting a big hug round Manchester today, because everyone wants to connect, everyone wants to celebrate after all the horrors that we have been through."

Fifty community groups took part in the parade of 13,000 performers.

The Creative Director behind it was the internationally acclaimed and award-winning production designer Dan Potra, whose past work includes the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and Liverpool's Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008.

Dan said: "Each of the main floats had a very clear backstory. Starting with the Queen Bee Gondola, and ending with Home Sweet Home, which is just that - Manchester, the home of everyone living and working in the city, everyone accepted and everyone."

Little Amal at Manchester Day 2022

Little Amal - the 3.4 metre high puppet of a Syrian girl refugee who first arrived in the North West last summer - was and about in the city centre throughout the day, happening upon the Parade in a spectacular fashion.

Liz Pugh, of the arts and events group Walk The Plank, said: "We've invited Little Amal to part of the Manchester Day parade today.

"She important because she represents children from displaced communities and she represents the idea of friendship and welcome and the city has always made people feel welcome."

The Manchester Day parade returned for the first time since the pandemic.