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Preston Pride set to take over the city centre as thanks are paid to equality champions from the past

Rainbow colours on Lynda Fox's stall at last year's Pride
Rainbow colours on Lynda Fox's stall at last year's Pride
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Just like the popular U2 anthem, pride in the name of love will this weekend be centre stage in the heart of Lancashire as Preston is taken over by a wave of rainbow flags, banners and stalls.

The city’s Flag Market is playing host to the annual Preston Pride, now in its seventh year, and organisers are head of heels at how the celebratory plans have played out.

Frances Mort, Gareth Williams, Mario Kyriacou and Colette Halstead at 2012's Pride festival

Frances Mort, Gareth Williams, Mario Kyriacou and Colette Halstead at 2012's Pride festival

Treasurer of the organising committee, Lorraine Lenoir, said: “We’re quite a small committee which started back in 2011.

READ MORE: Preston Pride to stride into town honouring inspirational women
“This year is all about inspirational women to mark the 100th anniversary of some women getting the right to vote. Our message from that is about inspiration women who have paved the way for equality.

“We have a very trans-positive message too. It’s about having a strong message of remembering all the hard work done before us for equality.”

Preston-native Lorraine, who along with Debs Bradshaw has helped mastermind this Saturday's event, take enormous pride in their event being entrenched in the community and free for all.

This years lifetime achievement award is set to be awarded to PC Stuart Rutledge from Lancashire Police for his work in championing the LGBTQ+ community within the police force as well as for fighting hate crime across Lancashire

This years lifetime achievement award is set to be awarded to PC Stuart Rutledge from Lancashire Police for his work in championing the LGBTQ+ community within the police force as well as for fighting hate crime across Lancashire

“One of the things we are proud of is being a community event,” 39-year-old Lorraine explained.

“A lot of Pride events are becoming commercial which is fine, but we are very community focused.

“There will be some stalls selling commercial goods but a lot are community based from the likes of mental health and disability support groups.

“There’s a real broad spectrum of services at our pride and we never want to lose that as we become bigger and better every year.”

READ MORE: ​Council boss 'put the pride back into Proud Preston'
And for Lorraine, that inclusively at the heart of the LGBTQ+ event, which runs from 10.30am to 4pm, is only strengthened by the presence of straight allies – heterosexual people who support equal rights.

“We make sure it’s not just about sex or gender but also ability and access. And it goes without saying we welcome all our straight allies too,” she explained.

“It’s an LGBTQ+event but we’re so pleased to see our straight allies contribute and take part.”

Among the stalls at the event will be one from Lancashire Teaching Hospitals (LTH) NHS Foundation Trust.

To mark the day, the Trust has raised Pride flags – a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride – at Preston Royal Hospital and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital.

This year’s lifetime achievement award is also set to be awarded to PC Stuart Rutledge from Lancashire Police for his work in championing the LGBTQ+ community within the police force as well as for fighting hate crime across Lancashire.