Giants bid farewell after thrilling crowds

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The three-day Giant Spectacle entertained spectators in Liverpool and the Wirral. Pic © Nadia Breen JMU Journalism

The Giants Spectacular made its last ever appearance in Liverpool this weekend, with enormous numbers of spectators enjoying the show on both sides of the River Mersey.

Liverpool City Council claims around 1.3m turned out to witness the three days of festivities.

Crowds packed the streets to get a chance to see the three giants perform, with a special appearance by the popular Little Girl Giant who made a surprise visit to Sunday’s finale to say goodbye to her many fans.

The playful puppet dog, Xolo, delighted thousands as he wagged his tail and interacted with people, alongside Little Boy Giant and a super-sized monster puppet who spent Friday on the Wirral before joining up with the others in Liverpool.

Little Boy Giant in Toxteth. Pic © Megan Tattersley JMU Journalism

People travelled great distances to witness the parades, some on a repeated visit, including Anita Bowers, 64, who told JMU Journalism: “I came to see them in 2014 and I heard it was the last time so I’ve come from Shropshire on the train. I didn’t want to miss it. I think they’re fantastic.”

First-time spectators were also left impressed, such as Suze Guthrie, 23, who said: “I haven’t seen them before. I’ve only just moved to Manchester so I took a day off work to come and see them. They look amazing. It’s been knackering following them around the city.”

The event spanned 21 miles around the region, with the giants pausing to interact with the public. However, many visitors to the spectacle were also left deeply frustrated by travel problems, with long queues forming outside the train stations Merseyrail had left open, after controversially closing several others.

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James Duffy, a Merseyrail staff member, told JMU Journalism: “The system has been put in place for the safety of travellers this weekend. With the high volume of travellers the city is expecting, it will benefit everyone by having a structured system where we can control overcrowding on the platforms and ensure everyone is kept safe over this busy time.”

Long queues for trains at Liverpool Central Station during the three-day Giant Spectacle. Pic © Annie Williams JMU Journalism

Helen Bell, 60, of Wallasey, was unconvinced, telling JMU Journalism: “I understand the logic in wanting to build trains up of bigger carriages this weekend, but I do not understand how anyone believes closing stations is going to benefit anyone. Travelling home yesterday was an absolute nightmare. I was not able to get on the first two trains that arrived due to them being too full.”

Travel disruptions aside, it would appear that most who saw the ‘Liverpool’s Dream’ spectacular were not disappointed, but Jolene Hall, 26, said: “You were getting pushed by everyone so you couldn’t really take a picture.”

The technical aspects of the Royal de Luxe show earned praise, including from 60-year-old Jim Smith, who said of the giants: “The expressions, the eyes and the feet got me. The articulation of the movement was so expressive. It was absolutely brilliant, the way they all work together like a team.”

Additional reporting by Lucy Jones; Annie Williams; Nadia Breen; Lori Dunlevy; Ellie Watkinson; Megan Tattersley; George Adams; Abigail Lawrence; Angelica Day; Chantelle McKeever; Rose McMillan; Liam Jones & Rohin Jalota.

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About Shannon Lyon, JMU Journalism