Thousands pack streets for Saints victory parade

Thousands of fans in Northampton for the Saints Premiership celebratory parade
The streets were packed with fans who came to celebrate with Northampton Saints [James Burridge/BBC]

Thousands lined the streets to celebrate Northampton Saints' Premiership title win on Sunday.

The club secured the crown during an intense game at Twickenham against Bath on Saturday.

A celebratory open-top bus parade moved through the town centre from 14:00 BST before finishing at the Guildhall at 14:30.

Fans, including one who said he "sobbed like a baby" following the win, described the club's first Premiership win in 10 years as "emotional" and "amazing".

The parade started at Cinch Stadium - but fans were out on the streets long before to get the best view.

Kerry and her family found a spot right in front of the Guildhall and even brought chairs to ensure they could see the team arrive.

"We are festival-goers, so we have come prepared with our chairs because we know a lot about waiting at the barriers," she said.

Kerry with her family in Northampton
Kerry, husband Tim, son Archer, and daughter Ellie, secured their spot hours before the parade [Harriet Heywood/BBC]

Stephen Stevenson was another fan out early with his family and he managed to see Saints' previous title win in 2014.

"I was there when we won 10 years ago and watching them win again… I sobbed like a baby," he said.

Stephen Stevenson and family in Northampton
Stephen Stevenson (centre in green cap) said his 18-month-old had even started playing rugby [Harriet Heywood/BBC]

It was not just people out and about early - the dogs of Northampton were kitted out in Saints merchandise.

Ivy and another dog were pictured enjoying the celebrations.

Ivy the dog in Northampton
Ivy dressed in a Northampton Saints scarf for the celebrations [Harriet Heywood/BBC]

As the parade got closer to the Guildhall, the fans were out in their thousands with little to no space left.

Cheers could be heard as the buses came into view, with choruses of Queen's rock classic We Are The Champions starting to break out from the fans.

Northampton Saints players on the parade bus
Roars could be heard through the town as the parade reached its destination [Harriet Heywood/BBC]
Fans cheering during the Northampton Saints celebratory parade
Fans cheered their hearts out for the Saints [James Burridge/BBC]
Bands were out in Northampton adding to the celebratory atmosphere
Music from bands in Northampton helped add to the atmosphere [Harriet Heywood/BBC]

At 14:30 the team stepped out in front of the crowds on a stage at the Guildhall to lift the Premiership trophy before giving several interviews.

It was an emotional moment for many of the players, including several who are leaving the team.

Saints players lift the Premiership trophy to the fans in Northampton
The trophy is back in Northampton for the first time in 10 years [James Burridge/BBC]

Flanker Lewis Ludlam, who will be heading to France next season, described the win as "a fairytale".

"We've dreamt of this for a long time now... to finally get it across the line is a fairytale," he added.

Similarly, lock Alex Moon, who is also moving to France, said it was "everything I could have hoped it could be".

Saints players sing to fans
The town centre was filled with chants and songs as fans and players alike celebrated [Harriet Heywood/BBC]

After mingling in the crowds and signing autographs, the players were back on the bus by about 15:40.

Even once the bus had departed the chants continued as fans attempted to keep the moment alive, unwilling to let it end.

Northampton Saints players wave farewell to fans
The players headed off to enjoy some celebrations in private [Harriet Heywood/BBC]

Council workers were then on the streets by 16:00 helping to clear up after the event.

Fans now have to wait until September for Premiership rugby to start again.

You can catch up on the parade as it happened here or listen back to BBC Radio Northampton's coverage on BBC Sounds here.

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