SHAFAQNA – Millions of people around the UK have celebrated the arrival of 2015, including with spectacular fireworks displays in London and Edinburgh. In the capital, hundreds of thousands of people lined the River Thames for an 11-minute display timed to the midnight bongs of Big Ben.
The show featured a commemoration of the WWI centenary, with bursts of red fireworks representing poppies and the world’s highest ever New Year countdown beamed from the 87-storey Shard.
It was the first year for tickets to be introduced for the event on the South Bank, with numbers limited to 100,000.
They were first made available to the public in September, with a staggered release to ensure multiple opportunities to secure a place on the night.
The scheme was brought in following consultation with the Metropolitan Police, emergency services, and local authorities, to help manage crowd numbers which have been growing each year – with 500,000 flooding the streets last year.
Emergency services braced themselves for a busy night, with London Ambulance Service expecting up to 600 calls an hour, operations director Jason Killens said on Twitter.
He said: “Over 100 emergency calls in the first 15 minutes since midnight – its getting busy this London NYE.”
Scotland Yard said officers had made 54 arrests by around 2am, with the majority for alcohol-related offences, while Greater Manchester Police said nine people had been arrested at the city’s main New Year event.
Up to 75,000 revellers packed into Edinburgh’s streets for Hogmanay, one of Europe’s biggest New Year’s celebrations.
Lily Allen was the headline act at the Concert In The Gardens, with Soul II Soul and Twin Atlantic among acts performing on five live stages throughout the city.
Wilson Peery, 33, from Oregon, USA, travelled to Scotland especially to attend Edinburgh’s street party.
He said: “I came here in 2008 and made a split second decision to come back this year with a group of friends. We all just decided to come.
“I just really like the energy and the fact that there are so many things to do. The torchlight procession is something special.”
Punters were left disappointed after Hogmanay celebrations on Stirling Castle’s esplanade were cancelled due to high winds.
A live outdoor concert had been due to take place with music from The Waterboys, Skerryvore, JJ Gilmour and Model Aeroplanes, followed by a fireworks display.
:: The celebrations are not yet over, with a huge New Year’s Day parade set to take place in central London this afternoon.
Source : Sky News