MORE than 2,000 smiles shone in Girlington when its third annual parade took to the streets.

Youngsters from local nurseries and primary schools filled West Park with their teachers and families before getting in line for the start of the colourful parade.

The windy route was over half-a-mile long, celebrating the area's diverse community - and the love of books.

Reading was this year's theme, highlighting the start of the Bradford Literacy Campaign, which seeks to raise awareness of the importance of literacy skills in the district.

Leading the parade were Girlington residents Karam and Kartari Chand, the world's oldest married couple, with their son Paul Chand as chauffeur.

Behind their ribboned white car was Bradford's new Lord Mayor, Councillor Mike Gibbons, in his regalia despite the scorching heat.

Ward councillors were also there to represent Bradford Council, and the police joined in - helped by community volunteers who were marshalling the route.

Before the parade, there were book-themed assemblies at local primary schools, with a storyteller reading to children. Bradford Bookstart bear also visited St Edmunds Nursery and Children's Centre and thousands of free books were also handed out by staff from Bradford Literacy Campaign to encourage reading in all age groups.

Big banners about books, the Gingerbread man and a brightly covered tall hat made of tropical fruit were just some of the eye-catching sights in the parade.

Rachel Kelly, who is chief executive of Bradford-based charity Reading Matters, was in the crowd watching the parade go by. She said: "It's a sight to behold."

And Imran Hafeez, who is Bradford Literacy Hub's manager and has been working with the three primary schools and one children's centre that took part in the parade, said: "The parade is going to make a fabulous story for the children and their families to tell to others."

CNet development worker Muppett, who was one of the organisers, said: "The sun's shone on us for the third year running. Once again we've had a fantastic, well-supported parade with neighbours coming out of their houses to see us go by. It's become a fixed highlight of Girlington's calendar year."