Preston Pride's colourful celebration

Maria Bradshaw-Blythe with Bella
Maria Bradshaw-Blythe with Bella

Thousands put the Pride into proud Preston - and even the weather did its best to join in.

A giant rainbow appeared on cue over the city to mirror the colours in an around the Flag Market.
The sixth annual Preston Pride was billed as the biggest and best yet and, despite the occasional shower, the crowds turned out to make it a huge success.
Five hours of fun and games in the city centre were followed by partying long into the night as the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community celebrated its biggest fundraising event of the year in style.
This year’s event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality between consenting adult males in England and Wales.
It also marked the first year that organisers have had to put the event on without any help from both the city and county councils due to local authority budget cuts.
Many of the original Preston Pride committee of 2012 returned to lend a hand with drumming up support from local businesses.
“When we took the reins, there was no money in the bank and the council had confirmed that they’d be charging us for the infrastructure,” said a spokesman.
“We consequently needed the support of local businesses more than ever - and have been overwhelmed by those who have put their hands in their pockets and been keen to support us.”
There were plenty of rainbow flags, hats, feather boas and unbrellas around the Flag Market as entertainers encouraged people to join in the dancing and visit the stalls.
Cardiff-based drag queen Gina Grigio was the host of Pride on the outdoor stage. Theatrical company SayTwo Productions put on a display of sword fighting.
Members of the Preston Roller Girls turned up with a huge selection of homemade cakes.
And the local constabulary joined in the fun, arriving in a multi-coloured patrol car with “Police With Pride” signs on the side and the motto: “Lancashire Constabulary values our diverse communities.”
Later at an after-show party at Dirty Harry’s in Roper Hall, internationally renowned DJ and recording artist Ross Alexander was the surprise headline performer. Ross, billed as “fabulously glamorous and incredibly talented,” was fresh from Pride events in Manchester and Gran Canaria.
But the day’s brightest star just had to be the huge rainbow which fittingly appeared over the city as the celebrations reached their peak.
“How cool’s that? You just couldn’t make it up,” said one delighted visitor.

Pride host Gina Grigio

Pride host Gina Grigio

For many more photos, pick up a copy of Monday's paper.