THOUSANDS of Scouts and Guides paraded through Colchester to celebrate St George’s Day.

Youngsters from across the district marched past the town hall, as parents and spectators looked on.

A Scout band played Pack Up Your Troubles as the procession entered the High Street.

It took 20 minutes for the colourful parade to make its way past the town hall, where Scout and Guide chiefs took the salute with mayor Henry Spyvee, who waved his hat at the marchers.

South Colchester district commissioner Stuart Gibson said: “The turnout was absolutely fantastic. We are looking at around 2,000 young people from Scout and Guide movements.”

Guides, Brownies and Rainbows took part in the parade for the first time in 20 years.

South Colchester divisional commissioner Marie Forsyth said: “We were invited back this year because it is the movement’s centenary, so it was nice to take part.”

Two plastic ducks also watched the parade from the VIP stand.

Marie explained: “The girls and leaders take them everywhere and try to get them photographed in the strangest places possible.”

Earlier, a special civic St George’s Day service was held at the new Garrison church of St Alban the Martyr.

Meanwhile, St George came face-to- face with real-life dragons in Colchester Zoo’s komodo enclosure. Visitors saw komodo dragon training sessions, as part of the celebrations. Komodos are among the world’s largest lizards.

There were more events from the Essex Reptile Amphibian Society, and in the zoo’s Cuban crocodile enclosure.

A spokesman said: “I don’t think the komodos were too worried about St George. I reckon they could have slayed him if they wanted.”