UK

Tribute to the Queen and show of support for Ukraine feature in London’s New Year fireworks display

A tribute to the late Queen and a show of support for Ukraine featured in London’s New Year fireworks display, as more than 100,000 people gathered on the banks of the Thames to mark the beginning of 2023.

Some 12,000 fireworks lit up the sky in the sold-out show, which was created with the theme of “love and unity”.

At the beginning of the display, drones spelled out the message “2023 with love from London”.

New Year celebrations continue around the world – live updates

Fireworks light-up the sky over the London Eye in central London to celebrate the New Year on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pic: AP
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Pic: AP
Fireworks light-up the sky over the London Eye in central London to celebrate the New Year on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. Pic: AP
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Pic: AP
Drones light up the sky over the London Eye in central London during the New Year celebrations. Picture date: Sunday January 1, 2023.
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Drones lit up the sky in the shape of the Queen’s silhouette

The tribute to the Queen, who died in September, featured a voice recording from her and words from Dame Judi Dench.

Then it honoured the King, with a message from him about the need to preserve our planet.

Fireworks explode over the London Eye ferris wheel as Britons across the country welcome the New Year, in London, Britain, January 1, 2023. REUTERS/Maja Smiejkowska
Fireworks light up the sky over the London Eye in central London during the New Year celebrations. Picture date: Sunday January 1, 2023.
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The London display included a tribute to Ukraine
Drones forming the shape of King Charles light up the sky over Horse Guards Parade in London
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Drones forming the shape of King Charles light up the sky over Horse Guards Parade in London

It also highlighted the Lionesses’ Euro win at Wembley and marked 50 years of London’s Pride with a message from Peter Tatchell from the Gay Liberation Front.

Music included Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, Ukrainian Eurovision winner Kalush Orchestra, and hits from Stormzy, Dua Lipa, Cher, Dave, Rihanna and Calvin Harris, with the show concluding with the traditional Auld Lang Syne.

Fireworks light up the sky over the London Eye and the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) in central London during the New Year celebrations. Picture date: Sunday January 1, 2023.
Fireworks explode over Edinburgh Castle during the street party for Hogmanay New Year celebrations in Edinburgh. Picture date: Sunday January 1, 2023.
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Fireworks over Edinburgh Castle
Revellers celebrate ahead of the New Year, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain December 31, 2022. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

In Edinburgh, people gathered for the first full Hogmanay celebrations in three years, with previous events being affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter: “Thinking back to Hogmanay last year and indeed the year before that, we’re reminded of just how far we have come from the very darkest days of the pandemic.”

As in London, partygoers in Edinburgh braved the weather to hear ’80s duo The Pet Shop Boys sing and fireworks lit up the sky behind the city’s castle.

In Cardiff, the city’s Winter Wonderland was the place to be, while Belfast celebrated at Europa Hotel’s annual Gala Ball.

But some parts of the UK deliberately had no fireworks.

The North Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough cancelled their display after concerns that the noise and light could cause distress for an Arctic walrus named Thor.

The walrus was spotted on the Hampshire coastline earlier this month and arrived in Scarborough’s harbour earlier on New Year’s Eve.

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