Giant refugee puppet Little Amal will return to the city for Manchester Day celebrations

The 3.4 metre high puppet of a Syrian girl refugee who arrived in Manchester last summer will be out and about in the city centre

With less than a month to go now until the return of Manchester Day on Sunday 19th June, preparations are underway to make sure this year’s unmissable event – last held pre-pandemic in 2019 – is the best ever.

Organisers are pulling out all the stops to make sure the city centre will be buzzing all day long with plenty of things to see and do, as well as making sure the Manchester Day Parade – full of music, colour, and dance – is the most memorable yet.

Outdoor arts specialists Walk the Plank have been working with community groups and local artists throughout the past few months to help them perfect their all-important parade routines and to make the fabulous parade floats that Manchester Day is famous for, all in preparation for the big day.  

Photo: Mark Waugh

After a forced three-year absence due to Covid, this year’s parade promises to be an absolute showstopper as it also welcomes, for their very first Manchester Day, a very special young guest who recently made her home in the city after an epic 8,000 km journey through Turkey and across Europe from Syria.

Little Amal – the 3.4 metre high puppet of a Syrian girl refugee who arrived in Manchester last summer – will be out and about in the city centre during the day, taking in all the sights and sounds of the unforgettable annual parade as it makes its way through the city streets. 

Photo: UNHCR: Sokratis Baltagiannis

With the spotlight for the return of Manchester Day this year firmly fixed on children and young people as part of the city’s year-long 2022 Our Year campaign, and as Manchester works towards becoming a UNICEF recognised child-friendly city, event organisers are asking the city’s children and young people to look out for Little Amal and be ready to extend the hand of friendship to her, and show her the true spirit of Manchester and how the city likes to celebrate.

Young people themselves are playing a big part in all aspects of this year’s Manchester Day. 

As well as helping make some of the fantastic costumes and parade floats, taking part in the parade itself, singing, dancing, and helping to choreograph it, young people have also been given the special job of curating all the activity on the day that will take place in the event space on Piccadilly Gardens.

“Manchester Day is the city’s way of celebrating everything we love about our incredibly diverse city and all its brilliant communities ,who together help make Manchester the best place in the world to be,” said Councillor Pat Karney, Chair of Manchester Day.

“And this time we’re dedicating it specially to all our children and young people who we know had such a rubbish time and missed out on so much during the pandemic. 

Photo: Mark Waugh

“After an absence of three years since the city was last able to get together and celebrate, this year’s will be the best –  magical, musical, magnificent and unmissable!

“We’re honoured also to have Little Amal with us this year, joining families and children as our iconic Manchester Day Parade makes its way through the city, and can’t wait to show her some Manchester love to hold in her heart and take with her on the next leg of her important journey.”  

Photo courtesy Andre Liohn

Liz Pugh, Walk the Plank’s Creative Producer, said: “This year, we’re focusing on the contribution of children and young people to our city, and the future of our planet – so we’re delighted to welcome Little Amal, one of the city’s most famous children, to the celebration.

“And she will take the spirit of Manchester’s youth with her as she sets off on her next journey at the start of Refugee Week.”

Manchester Day will take place on Sunday 19th June 2022.

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