A real show of pride

IPSWICH: Thousands turned out to show real pride at the county’s second festival for the gay and lesbian community.

An estimated 5,000 people attended the six-hour event at Christchurch Park yesterday for a day out with attractions for the whole family.

Music and other entertainment was at the heart of the event, but there were also trade stalls, information stands, and other attractions to keep the large crowds happy.

Guests including Ipswich mayor Jane Chambers and chief constable Simon Ash were joined at the event by the town’s two MPs Ben Gummer and Dan Poulter to help make it a real community event.

Event spokesman Paul Couch said: “We were very pleased last year when we got about 3,000 people to come along. This year the numbers are up considerably.

“The great weather has helped – but the fact that it is such an inclusive event with so much to offer has really helped to give it a boost.

“People from all areas of the community are here. It is Fathers’ Day today and although we aren’t going big on that, there is a family atmosphere here.”

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Ben Gummer said it was good to see an event staged for one section of the community managed to attract a wide audience.

“It’s a very nice event for everyone. It has a very serious message behind it, but it doesn’t preach at people and everyone there was having a great time.

“Ipswich is fortunate to have great events like this going on through the summer – next weekend is the start of the IP-Art Festival as well,” he said.

Comedienne and writer Clare Summerskill opened the event, and then the stage was turned into a showcase for local bands, singers, and dancers.

The event helped raise money for the East Anglian Children’s Hospices Treehouse Appeal.

BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Rob Dunger was compere for the event, and also met members of the crowd during performances on the stage.

They were also confronted by street theatre performers – including a group apparently carrying around a bath on stilts!

It all helped to boost the relaxed atmosphere in the park.

n Were you at Suffolk Pride? How important is this kind of event? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.