Hundreds join Portsmouth Pride parade

Have your say

HUNDREDS of people marched through the streets of Portsmouth in a blaze of colour and noise to show their support for the LGBT community.

The event on Saturday was the first Portsmouth Pride in nine years and saw a huge outpouring of support.

Organiser David Lee-Bastable, from Gosport, said he was overjoyed to see such a reaction.

He said: ‘I can’t tell you how proud I am of every single person. Words fail me. It’s amazing.’

Dignitaries such as Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond and Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones led the march, which left from the Guildhall at midday and snaked its way through Commercial Road and then on to Southsea Common.

Mrs Drummond said: ‘It is absolutely fantastic. Gay rights has been a long road for so many so I am really pleased that we now have equality. The amount of people here shows the support from the city.’

People had come from all over the county for the event.

Andrew Barber, 30, had come from Tadley.

He said: ‘It was so good to celebrate and to show support and raise awareness. We are gay and here to stay!’

He was joined on the walk by Heather Cooper, from Fareham.

I can’t tell you how proud I am of every single person here today. Words just fail me. It’s amazing

David Lee-Bastable, Portsmouth Pride organiser

Heather, 27, said: ‘It’s such good fun.’

Santi Mendez, from Fratton, was marching with gay rugby team Wessex Wyverns, which play in Southampton.

Santi, 34, said: ‘We are a gay rugby team that are looking for players.

‘It is a privilege to be part of this celebration and expression of being.’

Married couple Kevin White and Colin Christie, from Southsea, were proudly wearing T-shirts with slogans ‘Illegal to legal in a lifetime’ on them.

They have been together for 25 years and after a civil ceremony in February 2011, they were overjoyed to finally be allowed to get married legally in April this year.

Kevin, 53, said: ‘It was great. We wanted to make a statement.’

Colin, 49, said: ‘It was fantastic. I was at the last pride in Portsmouth nearly 10 years ago and it is really good to see it back.

‘It is something that Portsmouth needed and something that the city has been missing.

‘I hope it goes from strength to strength.’

Events such as live music and dancing took place on Southsea Common throughout the afternoon.

Enjoying the festivities on the common was Glenn Roberts, from Eastney.

Glenn, 39, said: ‘It was a great spectacle to see and it was a welcome return after so many years.

‘It had a really good community feel and it was really nice to see.’