Churchgoers filled the streets of Preston to celebrate their faith and the Guild with a joyful procession.
More than 5,100 people from a range of Christian denominations joined together for the parade from the Adelphi roundabout into the heart of the city.
A grandstand opposite the Harris Museum was packed out and 27,000 wellwishers lined city centre streets to clap, cheer and sing along as 90 groups and 11 bands wound their way past the Flag Market.
There was laughter as a police horse at the start of the procession chose to leave a pile of manure behind on the road for the floats behind to negotiate.
The cheerful mood lasted throughout the hour-and-three-quarters it took for the parade to pass through the city centre, with many of the crowd waving Guild flags and singing along to favourite hymns billowing from the passing floats.
“It’s lovely to see so many happy people on the streets of Preston,” said Linda Johnrose, who was walking with Beavers from Middleforth in Penwortham.
Christine Jenkinson of Broughton, who came with husband John to watch their headteacher daughter Kathryn Ward and grandchildren Eleanor and Rebecca walk, praised the different churches for coming together. She said: “It’s wonderful all the Christian churches can unite like this. It’s very special.”
The procession told the story of the Living Christ and involved churches and groups from across Preston and South Ribble. Different phases of the story looked at who Jesus is, interpretations of his message and how he lives in others today.
Young people played a big part in the procession, from the tots dressed as lambs in Our Lady and St Edward’s in Fulwood’s display about the Good Shepherd to Corpus Christi Catholic Sports College with their steel drum music and basketball players.
Dancers from St Anthony’s Church in Fulwood spun around a maypole and Broughton Choir was met with a huge round of applause as they paused opposite the grandstand to sing Praise Him in their long white robes.
Pam Rhodes from Songs of Praise joined Hoole Methodist Church aboard their float, chatting and waving to the crowd. The Queen even put in an appearance, courtesy of a giant paper mache puppet carried by the 1st Middleforth Scout Group.
A boat carrying the Fisherman’s Friends Jazz Band rounded off the colourful parade.
Diana Allen of Fulwood Free Methodist Church, who compered the procession, described the day as a “heartening experience” and said it showed how alive the Church was in Preston.
Liz Pugh of Walk the Plank, whose creative agency Walk the Plank acted as advisors to each of the four Guild processions, applauded everyone for taking part. She said: “It’s completely unlike any other procession I have ever worked on. The sense of ownership is massive.”