Team's pride at leading parade as thousands join in summer celebration

South Shields FC were "incredibly proud" to take the lead in the town's Summer Parade.

The procession of 2,000 people from community groups across the area was led by the team, which got on board an open top bus as players and staff were cheered on by supporters.

The Mariners led the procession.

The Mariners led the procession.

The event also gave the Mariners the chance to show off the side's four trophies won in the last season, including the FA Vase, which the team claimed in a 4-0 win against Cleethorpes Town at Wembley.

The parade, inspired by children's stories through its Once Upon a Time theme, headed down Fowler Street, Ocean Road and then Sea Road, which were lined with thousands of spectators, before the groups entered Bents Park.

An afternoon of entertainment was then put on for families, including dance shows and live music, after the floats, marching bands, stilt walkers, giant puppet displays and other street entertainers reached the seafront.

South Shields FC also took to the stage, as the achievements of last season were recognised.

South Shields FC boarded a bus to lead the celebrations.

South Shields FC boarded a bus to lead the celebrations.

Club chairman Geoff Thompson said: "It's an incredibly proud moment really.

"I didn't know what to expect when the council asked us to lead the parade and it was hugely humbling.

"I'm delighted for everybody at the football club , the players, the staff and the committee, everybody involved.

"None of us expected the turn out today, everybody has been blown away by it.

Thousands of people cheered on the parade as it made its way through South Shields.

Thousands of people cheered on the parade as it made its way through South Shields.

"We would like to think the lads' success, and not least at Wembley, has made people happy, and we've still got a long way to go, but a lot of that success is down to the people of South Shields and South Tyneside.

"I love to think the club is on a journey and we've had two great years, the last year particularly, and it's down to the enthusiasm of people that it has been possible."

Among those to join in the parade on foot was Christine Nowlin, 64, a retired Jobcentre worker from South Shields, who joined in the People's Mission group for the third year running.

Its members marched in costumes inspired by the Jungle Book.

Dancers performed throughout the parade.

Dancers performed throughout the parade.

She takes her grandchildren, Emma Spencer, four, Florrie Low, two, and Holly Cullen, one, along to the mission's toddler group.

"It was brilliant, it was even bigger than last year," she said.

"There were lot of people there, absolutely loads, and the children really enjoyed it."

Sarah Shaw, 32, from South Shields joined in the Cinderella-themed group and she also works for Creative Seed, which directed the parade.

She said: "It was amazing and I think this year's was bigger and better.

"The groups have been working with artists on the big structures and a lot of work went into the outfits.

Hours were spent creating outfits ahead of the parade.

Hours were spent creating outfits ahead of the parade.

"There was an amazing atmosphere from the crowd and there were lots of people cheering, which was really great."

The Summer Parade was organised by South Tyneside Council and supported by Arts Council England, Port of Tyne and BBC Newcastle.

It forms part of the wider programme of free live music, entertainment and activities making up the South Tyneside Festival 2017.

The parade began from outside the town hall in South Shields.

The parade began from outside the town hall in South Shields.

The event was inspired by children's books.

The event was inspired by children's books.

Aladdin was the inspiration behind this group's outfits.

Aladdin was the inspiration behind this group's outfits.

Dazzling fancy dress added colour to the event.

Dazzling fancy dress added colour to the event.