A parade for hundreds of children has been saved from the axe by a supermarket.

The families of more than 600 children were disappointed to learn the annual Moving On procession through Lewes was to be shelved because of financial difficulties.

The event's Arts Council funding was withdrawn, meaning organisers could not afford to host the event, including payment for the artists who help children create colourful parade costumes.

But the event organiser, Parents and Teachers in the Arts (PATINA), was told on Thursday Waitrose had stepped in with a £4,000 donation.

Stevie Auden, an executive committee member of PATINA, said: "This year we have been desperately looking for funding and it's actually been really heart-warming to see how many people have come forward to help.

"A couple of months ago we were all in absolute panic but local businesses have been great and then we found out we had this large donation - we are over the moon."

PATINA has now managed to raise £36,000 made up entirely of business donations. A host of small, local businesses have continued to support the children's event, which is now in its seventh year, and larger companies stepped in too. The Waitrose donation finally ensured the event could go ahead.

Paul Soane, manager of Lewes Waitrose, said: "As a team we delight in working in and with the local community wherever possible.

"We are helping support a ceremony that is traditionally enjoyed by many young people in the locality."

Children from 20 schools will take part in the colourful procession and each school will work with a carnival artist to create individual costumes. The parade will be made up of year six children about to move to secondary school and this year's theme is Creatures of the Deep.

Ms Auden said: "It's called Moving On as children are leaving primary school and starting a new phase. All the children taking part this year have seen the older children have their turn so we're delighted we didn't have to disappoint them.

"A samba band from Lewes Priory secondary school will also be joining us and we have a youth band so the children can dance after the parade.

"We all feel really positive now that the Moving On parade is here to stay."

The parade is set to begin at 12.30 on Friday and will start from The Paddock, Paddock Road, Lewes. It follows a route through the High Street before returning to the Paddock for a party.

The event is run largely by volunteers and PATINA is still looking for stewards to help out on the day.

Anyone interested in helping should email moving_on_parade@yahoo.co.uk