PIRATES, fairies and popular characters have been lit up along a city’s seafront as part of a popular illuminations event.

The annual Sunderland Illuminations, expected to attract a large number of visitors to the city’s seafront, started last night and continues until November 5.

Among the creations this year are installations of pirates, fairies and dinosaurs and popular Disney characters including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and characters from the film Frozen.

A preview evening was held on Wednesday for children with additional educational needs.

Pupils from Sunningdale Columbia Grange, Barbara Priestman, Biddick Academy, Farringdon Community Academy and Oxclose schools were invited, along with their families, to have a first glimpse of the festival of light in Roker Park, which has a Disney theme.

The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Doris MacKnight said: “The preview evening has become a special annual occasion giving the children who might struggle to get a good view in a crowd, the chance to see the lights close up with their friends and family.

“It’s great to see so many smiling faces, and people’s reaction to some of the new attractions alongside the more established crowd favourites in the park.”

Danielle McCutcheon from Washington whose daughter Katie, 6, is a pupil at Colombia grange said: “She loves the lights especially the Cathedral Of Mirrors”

The event will also see the return of the big wheel and fairground to Cliffe Park, which will operate between 5pm and 10pm every night until November 5.

Visit www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/illuminations for more information.