This Lancashire firefighter marched with his US counterparts at the New York City Pride Parade 2019

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A firefighter with Lancashire Fire and Rescue marched in the New York City Pride Parade 2019.


Ben Noon, 28, from Lancaster, had to make the trip over to the "Big Apple" alone last Thursday, after his colleague had a family emergency.

Members of the New York Fire Department marching in the Pride parade.

Members of the New York Fire Department marching in the Pride parade.

He was hosted by members of Engine House 15 of the New York Fire Department, who made a lasting impression on Ben.

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"They were absolutely fantastic hosts," he says, "they brought me in completely, and invited me for dinner."

"We traded t-shirts...and they arranged for me to meet 9/11 first responders."

Ben was hosted by members of New York's Fire Department, photographed here in front of the One World Trade Center.

Ben was hosted by members of New York's Fire Department, photographed here in front of the One World Trade Center.

The first responders, members of the emergency services who rushed into the World Trade Center to save people on September 11, 2001, gave Ben a tour of the site.

"It was a rite of passage," he says, "I paid my respects."

Ben laid a wreath at the "Ground Zero" site, on behalf of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, in memory of the first responders who died in the line of duty.

After commemorating the fallen heroes, Ben and his hosts prepared for the New York City Pride Parade.

Ben presented a memorial wreath on behalf of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service at Ground Zero.

Ben presented a memorial wreath on behalf of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service at Ground Zero.

"Seeing how the Americans do things was amazing."

Ben, who has been a member of the LFRS LGBT+ group for 18 months, marched alongside his American colleagues.

"The scale of the event was unbelievable."

The New York Fire Department was one of 32 government organisations represented at the event, which lasted for several hours.

Ben (left) attending a Pride parade a little closer to home in Manchester last year.

Ben (left) attending a Pride parade a little closer to home in Manchester last year.

"We always get a great reception from people when they see us here (in the UK)," Ben says, "but in New York it was crazy."

"People were coming over and hugging us, thanking us - people wanted pictures with us."

And on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, one highlight in particular was particularly special for Ben.

"I already knew quite a bit about what happened at Stonewall," he explains, "but we did meet some of the actual Stonewall veterans there, and they were so inspirational."

But even after a hectic trans-Atlantic trip, Ben didn't get a chance to rest.

He departed America on Tuesday evening, and landed back in Britain on Wednesday morning - with a full shift waiting for him in Lancaster later that day.

The fireworks display in New York City to celebrate the end of Pride.

The fireworks display in New York City to celebrate the end of Pride.