Thousands turn out for South Shields camel parade event
Thousands of people turned out to see this year's camel parade in South Shields.
Thankfully rain held off in time for the annual event, which saw the animals travel through the town centre as part of the Christmas Wonderland Parade.
Drummers from Spark! and stilt-walking shepherds wowed the crowds at the event as they journyed through the town to Haven Point amid colour and noise.
Once the parade arrived at Haven Point, popular North East band Rose Parade entertained the crowd with their versions of some festive classics before a spectacular fireworks display at South Shields seafront brought the evening to a close.
Julie Francis, 32 from Hebburn, mum to Austin, five, said: “It’s been brilliant and there are loads of people here enjoying themselves.
“People from the area always turn out when there are things like this on.”
Martin Simpson, 56, from South Shields, said: “I never miss coming to see this.
“It feels like most of the town is here tonight.”
Councillor Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture, said: “The Camel Parade always proves to be an extremely popular event and this year was no exception.
“It was wonderful to see so many families and visitors line the parade route and enjoy the festive entertainment and live music.”
Not everyone was happy to see the animals being used in the parade, with almost 20 animal rights activists from the Northern Animal Welfare Co-operative protesting in Ocean Road.
Many of those attending the parade criticised the group for protesting.
A spokeswoman for the group said: “This is not about spoiling fun for the children.
“The parade for us on its own is fine but camels don’t belong in South Shields.
“If we had elephants and lions involved then people would be up in arms, so why are they not for camels?
“We’ve had sensible conversations with the council but we’re disappointed they decided not to remove camels from the parade.”
South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck expressed her disappointment at the use of camels in the parade after she was contacted by animal rights activist Fiona Munro, who created a petition against the event.
The petition, which called the use of the animals “exploitative” and “undignified”, attracted more than 90,000 signatures, however, many of those who have signed the petition appear to be from outside of the borough.