FAMILIES were devastated when a popular children’s parade was forced to cancel its annual event as the coronavirus crisis laid waste to Brighton’s busy spring schedule.

But, in an unexpected turn of events, the Brighton Children’s Parade has now made a shock return to the city’s calendar.

The vibrant procession usually sees thousands of schoolchildren take to the streets in an array of colourful and creative costumes to mark the start of the Brighton Festival.

This year, with the entire UK under lockdown, organisers have decided to take the party online in a first for the festival. At 10.30am on May 2, the date the event was originally due to take place, parents and carers are encouraged to post photos and videos of their families having fun in their homes on social media with the tag #ChildrensParadeAtHome.

John Varah, artistic director at charity and joint organisers Same Sky, said: “Whether you want to conga around your kitchen, wave a flag from your window, blow a whistle from your balcony, shimmy in your sitting room or dress-up on your doorstep – anything goes at the Children’s Parade at Home.

“We want to celebrate young people’s creativity in all forms and keep the spirit of the Children’s Parade alive.”

The charity has also made a host of free art resources online to inspire parents and carers to make props and costumes for their children to wear on the day,with examples ranging from masks to musical instruments.

Same Sky organises the event alongside the Brighton Festival. Andrew Comben, chief executive of Brighton Festival said: “We know how much the Children’s Parade means, not only to the 5,000 children, teachers, parents and volunteers who take part every year but to all the families and visitors who enjoy watching this spectacular community event in the heart of Brighton. We hope this alternative parade will offer a sense of unity and joy at a time when we all need it the most.”