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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

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First Cumbria Pride in Carlisle city centre hailed success

Party pop chart-toppers the Vengaboys and X Factor finalist Marcus Collins helped fly the flag for pride in Cumbria.

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Sophie Ball at Cumbria Pride

They topped the bill at the first Cumbria Pride to be staged in Carlisle city centre – with visitor numbers double those of previous years.

It was organised by members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and aimed to promote increased tolerance in the county.

Young and old alike gathered in front of the Old Town Hall to enjoy a variety of entertainers.

Organiser Glenn Anderson, who runs the LGBT centre in Fisher Street, said: “It’s the fourth Pride event but it’s the first time in the city centre. It’s a fabulous display of equality, diversity, colour and happiness.”

Natalie Marie Homer, from the West Midlands act Stolen Identity, said it was a really good event, just two weeks before they were due to perform at London Pride.

Lewis Styler, also from Stolen Identity, added: “I think it’s amazing and it’s really friendly – they are friendly and really supportive.”

Alan A, a French singer/songwriter who is based in London, was also waiting to perform and added that he had appeared at Bradford Pride last year.

He said: “I represent the gay community with my songs. The Carlisle crowd look like they are interacting [with the performers] – not like Bradford.”

Lee Sherriff, a city councillor for Harraby, spoke to the crowd, saying: “It shows how much Carlisle has come on in diversity,equality and acceptance of people.”

Sophie Ball had travelled from Warrington in Cheshire to attend Cumbria Pride and said the city centre was a better location.

“It’s brilliant. This is my second year. It’s better than when it was at the hotel because numbers have doubled,” she added.

Mike Coombs, a 53-year-old from Carlisle, said: “I’ve had people coming up to me from Newcastle and Glasgow – it’s so nice to see people here from all over the country.”

Other acts onstage in front of the Old Town Hall included Amrick Channa from BBC’s The Voice, Allan Jay, Swede Dreamz, Zoe Fuller, Jerri Jordon, Jay Hofman and Carol Anthony.

The show was hosted by DJs Ross Alexander and Cheri Treiffel.

The evening celebrations continued at The Regency in Fisher Street which was headlined by disco stars The Vengaboys, Nikki French and Misha B.

There was also a display of artwork by students from Carlisle College at the LGBT HQ in Fisher Street. It included digital art, photography, fashion design and painting.

Course tutor Alf Phillips said: “I am particularly proud of the work our students have produced this year. I am also delighted that students have chosen the LGBT HQ as the venue for their exhibition.”

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