Peter Elson dives into the massive crowds to glimpse Uncle Giant
NEVER has such a huge crowd out to enjoy itself in Liverpool stood in such awestruck silence.
From the moment the 50ft Giant Diver was hoisted upright from sitting in Salthouse Dock, thousands of jaws dropped in wonder at the sight.
The team leader barked out incomprehensible instructions in French through a megaphone.
But these were perfectly clear to the crew as the whole scene, including the Giant Diver, suddenly came to life.
Every other person seemed to say to their neighbour “There’s a head in the diving helmet! Did you his eyes blink?”
Around 30 attendants dressed in swashbuckling scarlet coats fussed around the massive street marionette, as he was craned on to the quayside with two men perched on his shoulders.
In a very slick operation the Giant Diver was wired up to his mobile framework, hosed down, brushed up and on his way.
VIDEO: Giant Diver emerges from the water
In a bizarre and entertaining set-up, those attendants not actually pulling the wires or operating the Diver kept climbing on board his support and jumping off in sequence.
Like a walking Mexican wave, the crowd – estimated in total today at 15,000 people across the city – followed the Diver along the Strand.
The turn-out was especially astonishing as this was just an ordinary working day, not a weekend or holiday.
Suited business people stopped in their tracks and were caught up in the spectators as the Giant Diver plodded by.
Marie Kettle, from Childwall, said: “It’s brilliant, even better than the spider in 2008.”
Her husband, Vin, said “The logistics which have gone into this are amazing.”
Pat and George Coxon, from Bebington, had brought their great grand-daughter, Evie, four, to see the Diver.
Pat said: “She’s loving it and so excited.”