A CARNIVAL atmosphere brought Castlefields to life on Friday as more than 5,000 visitors soaked up the annual Party in the Park.

Vibrant music played by Wirral Samba School pulsated through Phoenix Park as children enjoyed a host of free summer games and activities.

Birds of prey, a climbing wall, fairground rides and a skate park provided plenty of entertainment.

Crusading Runcorn mum Carol Highton, chosen as a torchbearer for her campaign against loansharks, proudly displayed her Olympic beacon.

Carol, aged 48, of Halton Brook, set up The Brian Shields Trust, after she claimed her 22-year-old son, Brian, committed suicide when his £300 loan rocketed to £3,400 in 12 weeks.

She was nominated by the Illegal Moneylending Team after helping to advise more than 14,500 people and help secure convictions.

The Mayor of Halton, Clr Tom McInerney and Halton MP Derek Twigg were among special guests.

Jane Smith, regeneration officer of Liverpool Housing Trust, which teams up with Halton Council and Plus Dane Group to stage the event, said: “This is a great opportunity for members of the local community to get together.”

Stalls from local services provided information and advice.