New Year celebrations in Newcastle return with a bang

Thousands of people flocked to Newcastle last night to enjoy the North East's biggest New Year's Eve celebrations.

Early evening family celebrations in the city centre saw ghoulish creatures from land, sea and the depths of the underworld inhabit the dark streets around Grey's Monument.

The Winter Carnival parade in Newcastle.

The Winter Carnival parade in Newcastle.

Crowds were enchanted by the mystical Baba Yaga as she led her entourage of puppets, street bands and local community groups along Northumberland Street to the Civic Centre for a spectacular firework display set to music.

Later, a special midnight firework display, made possible by the support of local businesses, heralded the arrival of 2017 on Newcastle Quayside.

Outdoor arts experts Walk the Plank worked with the NewcastleGateshead Initiative and the city council's arts development team to bring a touch of myth and magic to the celebrations.

Heart North East breakfast presenter Tom Campbell entertained the crowds at the civic centre ahead of the firework finale as the streets came alive with performers, musicians and some fiery surprises.

Carol Bell, culture and major events director at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “Our New Year’s Eve celebrations are some of the biggest in the country.

"It wouldn’t be possible without all the amazing community groups and local artists and performers that take part in the carnival parade every year. They help create the special atmosphere in the city centre."

Coun Kim McGuinness, cabinet member for culture and communities at Newcastle City Council, said: “There are few better ways to welcome the New Year than to celebrate in the heart of the city.

"We have two chances for families and friends to get together; first our Winter Carnival and parade puts community involvement at the fore in the early evening to delight the audience, then midnight fireworks for those who want to see in the New Year chimes."