A colourful sea of cyclists and pedestrians turned heads as they took part in a procession at the official opening of a footbridge across Manchester Road.

Eleven-year-old Newby Primary School pupil Mohammed Hamzah read his award-winning poem, describing the “twirling and swirling” red structure, before cutting a ribbon at the foot of the bridge to kick off a parade on Saturday.

Hundreds of children and adults waved flags as they crossed the bridge during an opening ceremony that started with speeches from representatives from Bradford Council, cycling charity Sustrans and Bradford Trident.

Sustrans worked with the Council on the project, which is part of a £50 million nationwide scheme.

Malcolm Shepherd, Sustrans’ chief executive, told the crowd: “I hope this will enhance people’s ways of travelling for many years to come.”

After the ceremony, Councillor Val Slater , executive member for housing, planning and transport, said the bridge was a “magnificent piece of engineering”.

“It’s wonderful, the way it’s brought the communities together. I think it’s really needed in the communities because there’s no doubt that Manch-ester Road is and was a great barrier.”

Engineers behind the project spoke of their pride as they watched families walk across the structure, made of more than 350 tonnes of steel.

James Williams, senior engineer at Bradford Council and one of the project managers for the scheme, was master of ceremonies during the presentation.

“I’m very proud,” he said.

“I’m from the area, so to be a part of something like this in the place I live – something which will benefit the community – is fantastic.”

Before the bridge was opened, a portrait bench was unveiled displaying three life-size characters chosen by the local community, including Ian Greenwood, former leader of the Council who served as ward councillor for 17 years.

The two other community figures honoured, Councillor Sher Khan , a Little Horton ward councillor since 1999, and Michael Latham, former head teacher of Newby Primary, watched the unveiling.

Also on Saturday, a celebration was held to mark the opening of new sports pitches, paths and community gardens on derelict land in Manningham .

The event was awarded a Community Games grant from West Yorkshire Sports for getting the community involved in sporting and cultural activities inspired by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The new facilities were funded by Waste Recycling Environmental, a Youth Capital grant awarded to the youth group by the Council’s Youth Services and Manningham Masterplan.

e-mail: hannah.postles@telegraphandargus.co.uk