ONE of the biggest community celebrations seen in South Cumbria welcomed the arrival of a new millennium 20 years ago.

Firework displays and parties in pubs, homes, on the streets and even in Barrow Town Hall were on a similar scale to historic events such as the end of the Second World War, the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II or England winning the World Cup in 1966.

The Mail's first edition of the Year 2000, noted: "Thousands of people took to the streets across South Cumbria at the weekend to see in the new millennium with a cheer.

"And most of the revellers enjoyed the celebrations without any problems.

"The eagerly-awaited New Year's Eve party did not disappoint and in many cases it went on well into New Year's Day.

"The town centres of Barrow  and Ulverston were swamped with revellers throughout the night.

"Furness also hosted dozens of street parties in Barrow, Walney, Dalton, Ulverston and Millom which mainly passed off successfully without injury.

"Spectacular firework displays lit up the night sky all over the region at the stroke of midnight.”

One of the street parties in Barrow doubled as a birthday celebration.

The Mail, on Tuesday, January 4 in 2000, noted: "New Year's Eve proved an extra special landmark for a Barrow teenager - and he could celebrate in style by having his first legal drink.

"It was a total surprise for Gary Ballantyne, of Cocken Crescent, Ormsgill, when his friend Paul Bone threw him a special party bash.

"Paul, also of Cocken Crescent, helped organise an 18th birthday for Gary on New Year's Eve.

"More than 50 people gathered in Cocken Crescent for a large street party on December 31.

"And at midnight as well as welcoming in the Year 2000, the hundreds of revellers also celebrated Mr Ballantyne reaching the legal age.

"Exactly 18 years ago, he was the first baby to be born in Barrow's Furness General Hospital in 1982.

"Friends and family in the street all gave Mr Ballantyne money and he ended up with more than £200."

His friend Mr Bone said: "It went absolutely superbly and Gary didn't have a clue what was going on.

"There were about 50 to 70 people on the street and we had a great time right through to the next morning."

Some events also helped money for good causes, including a New Year's Day charity concert held by the band Black Dawn in aid of Millom Fell Rescue Team at the Peel Hotel in Millom.

A few people had a bit too much to drink as the new millennium arrived and police officers were called to more than 100 incidents in the eight hours between 10pm on New Year's Eve and 6am on Saturday.

The Mail noted: "They included people fighting, domestic and neighbour disputes and people complaining about fireworks continuing sporadically through the night."