London New Year marching bands arrive for parade

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A marching band rehearses for the parade
Image caption,
A crowd exceeding 500,000 is due to watch the parade go from Piccadilly to Parliament Square

All of the marching bands joining London's New Year parade have now arrived in the UK, after fears hundreds of participants would be stranded by snow in the United States.

The final musicians flew in on Friday morning, the event's executive director, Bob Bone, said.

On Tuesday he said he was frustrated airlines were not doing more to help a 375-strong band who were unable to fly.

But one firm had been "enormously helpful in the end", Mr Bone said.

He promised 8,500 performers would "play their socks off" during Saturday's procession, which begins at 1145 GMT outside the Ritz hotel in Piccadilly.

It will end with a rendition of Land of Hope and Glory in Parliament Square at 1500 GMT, having passed through Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, Pall Mall and Trafalgar Square.

On Thursday morning there was a burst water main on the Victoria Street section of the route, but Westminster Council praised Thames Water for repairing the broken pipe within 14 hours.

Mr Bone said he was "delighted" the full line-up of 25 marching bands would now be seen by a crowd which he predicted would exceed 500,000.

Image caption,
There will be 25 marching bands at Saturday's parade, which features 8,500 performers in all

"One airline in particular was enormously helpful in the end," he told BBC London 94.9.

"They had presented us with a brick wall and complete silence in the first 24 hours of the emergency and then all of a sudden, after a few pleas to the right places, they were brilliant."

The parade's floats will have a silver theme to mark the event's 25th anniversary.

"Adding to all of that there's the weird, wacky and wonderful that you can only get in a parade in this country of ours," said Mr Bone.

The parade will be broadcast live on the BBC London website.

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