It certainly stopped the shoppers in their tracks.

A procession of colour brightened up a cloudy July day as a 170-strong procession of university graduates and celebrity guests snaked its way through the streets.

Chief among them were the university’s Chancellor, actor Sir Patrick Stewart joined by his new wife, singer-songwriter Sunny Ozell, and Yorkshire Tour de France supremo Sir Rodney Walker.

Sir Patrick, who was born in Mirfield, presided at the start of its eight days of graduation ceremonies.

The 2014 graduation ceremony was the first time Sunny had accompanied Sir Patrick on his Chancellor duties.

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The centrepiece was a procession which started at St George’s Square and wound its way along New Street, Market Street and Ramsden Street to the library before making its way to St Paul’s Hall on the University campus for the ceremony.

Roads were closed while the procession of 100 gowned graduates and 68 dignitaries made their way along the route.

A large number of dignitaries were invited to join in the fun too.

They included the Mayors of Kirklees and Calderdale, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney plus the High Sheriff of West Yorkshire.

Artist Ashley Jackson, famed for his paintings of Yorkshire landscapes and recipient of a University of Huddersfield doctorate in 2013 – also joined the procession, alongside leading businessmen Graham Leslie and Alan Lewis, who have both worked closely with the university, plus Ken Davy, chairman of Huddersfield Giants.

The procession is one element of a sequence of 29 graduation ceremonies taking place over eight days at the University of Huddersfield, concluding on Wednesday, July 23.

During the course of the week more than 3,000 students will receive their awards and they will be joined by more than 6,000 guests.

This is the longest sequence of graduation ceremonies yet held at the university because of higher-than-usual numbers of graduates.

For the first time, its new Student Central building was used for many of the activities surrounding the ceremonies, including champagne receptions for graduates and their guests.

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