Thousands of people wowed by Gunwharf Quays’ fireworks spectacular in Portsmouth

Picture: Sarah Standing (161551-2273)
Picture: Sarah Standing (161551-2273)

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Tens of thousands of people were treated to a bonanza of fireworks and festive fun at Gunwharf Quays.

An estimated crowd of 20,000 people packed into the outlet shopping centre in Portsmouth tonight for a late celebration of Bonfire Night and to see the Christmas light switch-on.

Kate Bowman, 41, with her partner Colin Flaherty , 54, with from left, Colin's grandson Callum Leggett, eight, and Kate's sons Ollie Bowman, seven, and Josh Bowman, 10 

Picture: Sarah Standing (161551-2352)

Kate Bowman, 41, with her partner Colin Flaherty , 54, with from left, Colin's grandson Callum Leggett, eight, and Kate's sons Ollie Bowman, seven, and Josh Bowman, 10 Picture: Sarah Standing (161551-2352)

But before the main event, revellers enjoyed some live music from the pop stars of the future.

Among the guests taking centre stage included popular girl band M.O. and renowned vocalist JP Cooper – who treated the crowd to a live performance of his latest single, September Song.

Friends Caitlyn Wilde, 17, Susie Higgs, 19, Jessica Elson, 17, and Martin McMann made the trip from Havant to watch M.O.

Susie said: ‘We couldn’t believe how close we could get to the stage. M.O were just amazing.

David Thorn, 36, with his daughter Darcey, six, from Portsmouth

Picture: Sarah Standing (161551-2051)

David Thorn, 36, with his daughter Darcey, six, from Portsmouth Picture: Sarah Standing (161551-2051)

‘We’ve never been to the fireworks display here. Honestly, I have no idea why we didn’t come before, it’s been spectacular.’

Crowds were also treated to live show by Hampshire-based country band Ward Thomas.

Colin Flaherty, 54, travelled from Cosham with his grandson, Callum Leggett, eight, partner Kate Bowman, 41, and her two boys Ollie, seven, and Josh, 10.

He said: ‘I’ve been coming here for a couple of years and it’s always good; all the Christmas lights, the fireworks, the atmosphere – it’s just great.’

Maria Cook, left, and Debbie Donald wrapped up warm collecting for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

Picture: Sarah Standing (161551-2356)

Maria Cook, left, and Debbie Donald wrapped up warm collecting for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance. Picture: Sarah Standing (161551-2356)

Josh added: ‘I loved the fireworks. It just got better and better. They saved the biggest and best fireworks for the very end.’

Lorna Bateman, 47, of Southsea added: ‘It’s my first time here and I loved it. The atmosphere was buzzing and the fireworks were amazing.’

Colin Wilding, centre director for Gunwharf Quays was thrilled by the evening’s action.

He said: ‘We try and build on this event each year and make it bigger and better. It’s getting tougher now though. But I’m really pleased at how everything has gone.’

Girl band M.O on stage.

Picture: Sarah Standing (161551-2035)

Girl band M.O on stage. Picture: Sarah Standing (161551-2035)

Picture: Sarah Standing (161551-2167)

Picture: Sarah Standing (161551-2167)