Rainbow colours on show for 50th anniversary of UK’s first Pride parade

Crowds in rainbow colours have gathered for the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Pride parade.

Revellers wearing face paint, glitter, jewels and sequins are taking part in Pride in London – also the first since the outbreak of the pandemic – on Saturday.

Floats lined Park Lane ahead of the main march through the capital.

More than a million people are expected to descend on the city for the parade and associated celebrations.

Crowds have gathered for the Pride in London parade (James Manning/PA)

(PA Wire)

As part of what organisers are calling the “biggest and most inclusive event in history”, there will be a line-up of artists performing across four stages around central London.

Singer Emeli Sande, who came out publicly in April,  is among those on the entertainment bill.

She posted a story on her Instagram which showed her and her partner, classical pianist Yoana Karemova, on their way to soundcheck, and later in Trafalgar Square, where preparations were under way for the day’s musical extravaganza.

This year’s parade, from Hyde Park Corner to Whitehall, pays homage to the original 1972 march.

The Pride in London Parade in central London has not been held since the outbreak of the pandemic (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

(PA Archive)

More than 600 LGBT+ community groups are joining the march, which will pass significant sites from the UK’s first LGBT+ movement.

Mohammed Nazir, 24, from Bangladesh, from campaign group Rainbows Across Borders, said he wanted to dedicate this year’s pride to those forced to still hide their sexuality.

He told the PA news agency: “Pride is about self-affirmation, dignity and equality. It is a way to meet some other LGBTQ people. Pride is a movement where we’re still fighting for our rights.”

Popstar Ava Max will close the show on the Trafalgar Square stage, while other performers include Eurovision-winner Netta, Samantha Mumba and Kat Graham.

All proceeds raised from commercial partnerships are reinvested into the LGBT+ community, such as through the Unity Fund, organisers said.

The Unity Fund aims to build stronger communities by providing one-off grants to grassroots organisations, which address the needs of the UK’s LGBT+ community.

Meanwhile, public health officials have urged people not to attend Pride events if they have monkeypox symptoms or feel unwell.

As of Thursday, there were 1,235 confirmed cases in the UK.

Wendi Shepherd, monkeypox incident director at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “Our investigations and information from confirmed cases continue to show that the overwhelming majority of cases are in gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men.

“This weekend let’s enjoy Pride safely. Before you go to any events or parties check yourself for blister-like spots and rashes.

“Please don’t attend if you have monkeypox symptoms or feel unwell. If you have a rash or blisters stay at home, phone a sexual health clinic and get tested.”