Festival of colour

Blackpool Pride Festival 2013. Below: Gareth Gates performing at the Winter Gardens.
Blackpool Pride Festival 2013. Below: Gareth Gates performing at the Winter Gardens.
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Blackpool was awash in colours as vibrant costumes and characters to match were on display for the town’s seventh annual Pride Festival.

Members of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community flocked to the resort from all over the country, creating a kaleidoscope of eye-catching outfits on across the weekend.

Gareth Gates

Gareth Gates

Hundreds of people turned out to cheer on the opening procession from North Pier to the Winter Gardens.

Organiser Tim Allan said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the weekend, the whole community pulled together to make this successful.

“It really is a springboard for the Blackpool LGBT community to make this festival more prestigious across the country.

“The Winter Gardens and council have been fantastic and very supportive to what we’re doing, as have the bars.

“They were extremely busy on Saturday night.”

Mike Fitzgerald, 46, from St Helens, was among those taking part in the parade with his husband Keith Russell, 58.

The couple had attended a similar event in York last weekend, but Mike admitted Blackpool was still the place to be for the north of England’s LGBT community.

He said: “It’s much better than York.

“There’s a much bigger turnout here because Blackpool has more of a gay community.

“The atmosphere’s better.”

As part of the festival an afternoon of events was held at the Winter Gardens, culminating with a performance by former Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates in the venue’s Pavilion Theatre.

He performed a five song set consisting of Don’t Stop Me Now, Anyone Of Us, Suspicious Minds, Livin’ On A Prayer and Spirit In The Sky for an ecstatic audience.

Matthew Nolan, chairman of Another Way, an LGBT support group, was among those in the crowd.

He said: “We thought he was fabulous, wonderful and marvellous.”

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