MORE than 500 primary school children rehearsed welcoming judges to Southampton ahead of their visit in deciding which area will be crowned UK City of Culture 2025.

Pupils from Weston Park Primary School in Newtown Road showed off a dazzling display of smiles and cheered loudly in a practice run ahead of the judges' visit this week.

If successful in its culture bid, Southampton will hold a year of celebrations - with a giant circus show helping kick off three days of festivities in May 2025.

READ MORE: 'Moment of celebration' - Southampton into final four in race for UK City of Culture

Teachers and pupils at the primary school are throwing their support behind the city in this crucial week.

Year Six pupils Olivia Whiffen, 11, and Chloe Carrington 10, hope Southampton wins the bid as it will benefit the city.

Olivia said: "It will help pupils be the best and can help in terms of schooling as well.

"It will enable opportunities for children in schools and it can help them reach their full potential. Southampton should win."

Chloe said: "I think Southampton has much to offer and I think it will be recognised if we do get the bid. 

"Winning will help people learn about Southampton."

Daily Echo: Weston Park Primary Weston Park Primary

Headteacher James Wiltshire said: "We all know that it’s the youngsters of our city who are central to the bid and if we can increase their opportunities through culture and community then the bid will have more than done its job."

Deputy Headteacher Cara Newman said winning would "enhance opportunities".

She said: "As a school, we ensure that we create opportunities for our students and if we were to win, it would enhance all opportunities in Southampton.

"The children learn about their locality and get a strong understanding of it. It is really important they have that understanding of where they come from.

"Our city has great diversity and we want to be able to share that.

Daily Echo: Weston Park Primary pupilsWeston Park Primary pupils

"There is a lot of hidden beauty within Southampton that people are not aware of.

"There are so many beautiful places here, from the parks, museums, old ruins and more.

"So having that spotlight on Southampton will tell the country and every other country how beautiful and historical the city is."

Bradford, County Durham, and Wrexham are the other areas on the shortlist battling for the title.

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