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Let's have annual Pride event in Suffolk - MP for Ipswich Sandy Martin

PUBLISHED: 14:34 18 August 2017 | UPDATED: 14:38 18 August 2017

Sandy Martin at Norwich Pride with other festival-goers from Suffolk

Sandy Martin at Norwich Pride with other festival-goers from Suffolk

Archant

Ipswich's newly-elected MP Sandy Martin is hoping to see an annual Pride festival take its place on the town's social calendar.

Thousands of people march through the city centre to celebrate Norwich Pride. Picture: NICK BUTCHERThousands of people march through the city centre to celebrate Norwich Pride. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

There have been three Pride festivals in Ipswich over the last decade – but it has not so far become established as an annual event and Mr Martin said there needed to be a commitment to run it for several years if it was to become established.

He said: “There are now Pride Festivals across the country and they are very good at celebrating the diversity of our culture and some have become quite large.”

He was at the Norwich Pride festival in July – one of the country’s largest – and hoped that an Ipswich-based festival could give an opportunity for Suffolk’s LGBT community to come together in the county.

He said: “Norwich is one of the major festivals across the country now, along with Brighton and Bristol. I really don’t think we could do something to rival that as a real regional festival.

Thousands of people march through the city centre to celebrate Norwich Pride. Picture: NICK BUTCHERThousands of people march through the city centre to celebrate Norwich Pride. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

“But we could have something that attracts people from Suffolk, north Essex and south Norfolk.

“But it needs to happen every year for some time to get itself on to the calendar.”

He knows many of the people who ran the earlier festivals in Ipswich.

“We had two in Christchurch Park and one at the Waterfront,” he said.

“The Waterfront Festival was probably the best because as well as the stalls and stage we had some speeches and a march which really helped to put the spotlight on what we were doing.”

He would not be able to organise any festival himself but he could encourage anyone planning an event.

As well as Norwich, Colchester is holding its first Pride Festival today, Saturday, August 19, and other towns and cities across the country are now staging similar events.

Mr Martin himself attended the Norwich Pride event in July where he was joined by many other supporters from Suffolk among the thousands of people taking part in the march through the city’s streets and the main entertainment in Chapelfield Gardens.

Next year Norwich Pride celebrates 10 years of festivals in the city – could an annual event in Ipswich grow as significantly as that in the next decade?

• What do you think? Tell us at newsroom@archant.co.uk

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