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Little Amal is returning to Manchester for a parade through the city centre this summer

The 11-foot wooden puppet will be returning to the city for this year's annual Manchester Day parade.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 26th May 2022

A giant 11-foot wooden puppet that captured the hearts of Manchester last year is returning to the city once again this summer.

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the much-loved free event that is Manchester Day is back for 2022 on Sunday 19 June, and thousands of people are set to flood the city’s streets for what promises to be a bigger and better parade than ever before.

Back for its first outing since 2019, the spotlight for this year’s Manchester Day – which is created by Manchester People, and produced by award-winning local arts organisation Walk the Plank – will be dedicated to the city’s children and young people, who Cllr Pat Karney said “have missed out on so much during the pandemic”.

Organisers are pulling out all the stops to make sure the city centre will be buzzing with plenty of things to see and do all day long.

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And what better way to celebrate the children of the city that with a visit from a very special young guest who recently made Manchester her home after an epic 8,000 km journey through Turkey and across Europe from Syria.

Read more: Manchester Day parade returns for 2022 following two-year hiatus

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

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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” to show her the true spirit of Manchester and how the city likes to celebrate.

“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,” said Liz Pugh – Creative Producer at Walk The Plank.

“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.”

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Speaking on the return of Manchester Day for 2022, Cllr Pat Karney – Chair of Manchester Day – said: “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, 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.

Read more: A giant puppet walks to Manchester to raise awareness for displaced refugee children

“We’re honoured also to have Little Amal with us this year.

“She’ll be 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.”

Featured Image –  Bevan Ross (via MIF / The Walk)