'It gives us hope' - Suffolk Pride look ahead to this year's parade

A group of volunteers visited Ipswich Town Hall to have tea with Mayor Elizabeth Hughes on her final day in office.

A group of volunteers visited Ipswich Town Hall to have tea with Mayor Elizabeth Hughes on her final day in office. - Credit: Alexander Ward

Representatives from Suffolk Pride have enjoyed tea with the mayor and a chance to discuss their plans for this year’s parade. 

It was Mayor Elizabeth Hughes final day in office on Sunday, and she celebrated by inviting a team of volunteers from Suffolk Pride to Ipswich Town Hall. 

The afternoon was productive as well as enjoyable, said Ellena Woold, Suffolk Pride’s outreach officer. 

Esther Alcock holding the Sword of Justice, and Thomas Driscoll-Evans with the Ceremonial Mace.

Esther Alcock holding the Sword of Justice, and Thomas Driscoll-Evans with the Ceremonial Mace. - Credit: Alexander Ward

“What struck me was the willingness from the mayor’s office to support what Suffolk Pride are doing,” she said. 

“I was really impressed with the mayor’s generosity, she gave us loads of her time, and the sergeant as well. 

“We met the mayor on her last day of office, but they did commit to having the mayor at the front of our Pride march on June 18. The mayor is going to be there in full regalia.” 

Ellena said there was hope that other mayors from across Suffolk would also be in attendance.  

co-chairs Darragh Briscomb and Lauren Smith, holding the Sword of Justice and the Ceremonial Mace.

co-chairs Darragh Briscomb and Lauren Smith, holding the Sword of Justice and the Ceremonial Mace. Ellena says the team were fascinated to engage with the history of the town hall. - Credit: Alexander Ward

L-R: outreach officer Ellena Woolf, Darragh Briscomb, Lauren Smith, Thomas Driscoll-Evans, POC rep Becky and Esther Alcock

L-R: outreach officer Ellena Woolf, co-chairs Darragh Briscomb and Lauren Smith, marketing co-ordinator Thomas Driscoll-Evans, POC rep Becky and Lead Producer Esther Alcock. In front, Mayor Elizabeth Hughes. - Credit: Alexander Ward

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“I was thinking about what that means – having the support of the council visibly there at our march feels like a really strong message of support for the LGBTQ+ movement. 

“I feel it’s an interesting time to be a queer person in England at the moment, and if you read the newspapers too long, you can get quite scared. 

“To have people in these institutions actively supporting us was a real breath of fresh air, and gives us hope.” 

Cllr Elizabeth Hughes said: "I am very proud of the work this committee are doing to hold Suffolk Pride here in Ipswich, and look forward to celebrating Pride with them and the diverse communities of our county. I truly enjoyed hearing of their plans for the day.  

“Ipswich Borough Council supported the last Suffolk Pride when it was held here in the town, and it continues to work to ensure a safer place to live for all our LGBTQ+ residents and visitors. I hope to see Mayors and Civic Leaders from other towns and areas of Suffolk at Pride too.” 

Suffolk Pride 2022 takes place on 18 June 2022 on the Ipswich Waterfront. 

On Saturday, May 28, Suffolk Pride are offering a free drag and gender performance workshop at Dance East, led by local drag queen Shar Cooterie. 

Suffolk Pride are putting on a completely free Drag and Gender Performance workshop, let by local drag queen Shar Cooterie.

Suffolk Pride are putting on a completely free Drag and Gender Performance workshop, let by local drag queen Shar Cooterie. Ellena says this will be a fun way to meet new people ahead of the parade in June. - Credit: Suffolk Pride