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Train strikes don't stop Hogwarts Express on Harry Potter celebration day

The special day is held every year on 1 September

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Hundreds of fans descended on Wizarding World’s much-loved Back to Hogwarts celebrations at London’s King’s Cross, hosted by Sam Thompson and for the first time ever, Arnav Partukar, 10, a superfan who led the countdown to the departure of the Hogwarts Express. Fans were treated to an array of thrilling experiences including a special appearance by cast members and the creative team of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Sam Thompson hosted the event. (PinPep) (Simon Jacobs/PinPep)

London’s King’s Cross Station was awash with little Harrys and Hermiones as Potter fans flocked to celebrate Back To Hogwarts Day.

Thousands of fans of JK Rowling’s wizarding series braved train strikes to be at the event, which was hosted by TV star Sam Thompson and included a surprise marriage proposal and a special appearance by the cast of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.

Back To Hogwarts takes place every year on 1 September to mark the moment when wizards and witches board the Hogwarts Express on Platform 9 ¾ at 11am.

Read more: Harry Potter TV show: Plot, cast and everything we know about the spin-off series

This year superfan Arnav Paturkar ran the live countdown until the train’s departure, after winning a competition.

*** FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE ***
Hundreds of fans descended on Wizarding World’s much-loved Back to Hogwarts celebrations at London’s King’s Cross, hosted by Sam Thompson and for the first time ever, Arnav Partukar, 10, a superfan who led the countdown to the departure of the Hogwarts Express. Fans were treated to an array of thrilling experiences including a special appearance by cast members and the creative team of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Fans had a countdown to the train's departure. (PinPep) (Simon Jacobs/PinPep)

The 10-year-old, who beat hundreds of entries after the Wizarding World launched a search to find the most enthusiastic fan in the UK, said: “All my friends and family know that I am the biggest Harry Potter fan around, so when my parents told me about a competition to lead the live countdown at Back to Hogwarts, as a proud Gryffindor I just knew I had to give it a go!

"I have had so much fun, and it has been amazing meeting lots of other Harry Potter fans, just like me.

"This is a day I will never, ever forget.”

*** FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE ***
Hundreds of fans descended on Wizarding World’s much-loved Back to Hogwarts celebrations at London’s King’s Cross, hosted by Sam Thompson and for the first time ever, Arnav Partukar, 10, a superfan who led the countdown to the departure of the Hogwarts Express. Fans were treated to an array of thrilling experiences including a special appearance by cast members and the creative team of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Fans dressed up as Harry Potter and his pals. (PinPep) (Simon Jacobs/PinPep)

The event also saw Thompson invite fan Manish Pindoria to the stage.

He swept his girlfriend Panveet Kaur Bason off her feet by proposing – and she said yes.

Thompson said of the day: “As my cats, Albus and Cedric can attest to, I love Harry Potter!

"Being able to come back to King’s Cross to host such a brilliant event, in front of so many like-minded fans is literally my dream come true."

*** FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE ***
Hundreds of fans descended on Wizarding World’s much-loved Back to Hogwarts celebrations at London’s King’s Cross, hosted by Sam Thompson and for the first time ever, Arnav Partukar, 10, a superfan who led the countdown to the departure of the Hogwarts Express. Fans were treated to an array of thrilling experiences including a special appearance by cast members and the creative team of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
The Hogwarts Express was added to the departure board. (PinPep) (Simon Jacobs/PinPep)

He added that it was great to see "the shared love that this community has for Harry Potter".

Helen Cavanagh, Network Rail’s head of passenger experience for the East Coast route, added: “It’s always amazing to see King’s Cross station filled with students from all four Hogwarts houses come together as one to mark the start of the new Hogwarts term.

*** FREE FOR EDITORIAL USE ***

Pavneet Kaur Bason accepts engangment proposal from Manish Pindoria

Hundreds of fans descended on Wizarding World’s much-loved Back to Hogwarts celebrations at London’s King’s Cross, hosted by Sam Thompson and for the first time ever, Arnav Partukar, 10, a superfan who led the countdown to the departure of the Hogwarts Express. Fans were treated to an array of thrilling experiences including a special appearance by cast members and the creative team of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
The event even included a proposal. (PinPep) (Simon Jacobs/PinPep)

"Whether you belong to Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, we’re looking forward to welcoming you!”

Read more: Daniel Radcliffe participates in roundtable with transgender kids

From today (1 September) until 3 September, visitors can take part in several activities, such as trying Butterbeer, playing Hogwarts Legacy on PlayStation®5 courtesy of Warner Bros Games, and enjoying LEGO Harry Potter giveaways and photo opportunities.

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