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Rainbow celebrations in Leeds for a day full of pride

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A rainbow of colour blazed through the streets of Leeds to give the city an extra special day to be proud of.

Thousands of people marched through the streets accompanied by a trail of confetti and bubbles for the annual Leeds Pride celebrations.

The city centre turned into an ocean of rainbow flags - the symbol of gay pride - as people of all ages gathered at Millennium Square this afternoon (Sunday).

The feast of fabulousness included performances from Pussycat Dolls star Kimberly Wyatt and Eurovision champion Katrina from Katrina and the Waves.

The heaving square burst into sing-song when Katrina took to the stage and performed her classic hit Love Shine A Light.

Girl band Stooshe, The Viaduct Showgirls and The Champagne Showgirls were also in the line-up to entertain crowds at the event which celebrates its eighth birthday.

Thousands of carnival-goers paraded down to The Headrow to the heart of the city’s gay quarter on Lower Briggate this afternoon.

Hundreds of people crammed under a rainbow canopy which streamed through the city centre as shoppers and onlookers waved at them as they passed by.

And the team from Yorkshire MESMAC got the crowds in the party spirit as singers took to the microphone on their float and sang Dancing in the Streets as they went by.

Supporters of Orashia Edwards, a Jamaican bisexual fighting for asylum in Leeds, also marched together to highlight his case after he was denied an appeal over the judicial review for his deportation at Leeds Crown Court last month.

Burkhard Reffeling, 27, was among those watching the entertainers take to the stage in Millennium Square.

He said: “It is the second time I have been here and I absolutely love it. It just goes to show how diverse Leeds is and it is just a really good atmosphere.”

Justin Tingley, 31, who was accompanied by his girlfriend, added: “It just goes to show the massive support Leeds has and it is just great.

“It is the first time I have been to something like this and there is so much creativity here.”

The party is set to continue into the evening on the main stage on Lower Briggate with over 15 bars taking part in the celebrations.

Speaking ahead of the event Tom Doyle, chair of Leeds Pride, said: “The reaction to Leeds Pride over the years has been absolutely extraordinary.

“Leeds has a reputation across the country as being the friendly pride and the city really welcomes it with open arms.

“We have massive smiles and lots of support from shoppers as the parade goes by and that is just amazing.”

He also said that the city’s gay pride event has come a long way since it first started eight years ago with 200 people on the Civic Hall’s steps.

Tom added: “Every year it just seems to get bigger and bigger.

“Throughout the year there has been fundraising to help keep this event free and that is something we are really proud of.”

 

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