Hundreds of rainbows proudly lit up the streets of Leeds on a day of blazing sunshine and torrential rain.
Thousands of people gathered in the city centre for the seventh annual Leeds Pride spectacular on Sunday, August 5.
The crowds braved rain, thunder and hailstones to see a star-studded line-up of pop stars, take part in the showpiece parade and most importantly, celebrate the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
The event kicked off at Victoria Gardens on The Headrow.
Colourful costumes and rainbow flags – a symbol of gay pride – could be seen all around, along with Leeds Rhinos mascot Ronnie the Rhino, who was posing for pictures as the sun shone down.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom, of West Yorkshire Police, who addressed the crowd, said: “I’ve seen this event grow over the years and it’s now the largest event that happens in the city centre annually and it’s also the best organised and the most enjoyable.”
This year’s event had a sporting theme to tie in with the London 2012 Olympics.
And Stuart Andrew, Conservative MP for Pudsey, praised the work being done by the Rugby League in tackling homophobia in the sport.
He said: “Two years ago I was proud to be elected the first openly gay MP and that shows how far our country has come.
“We have a sporting theme today and that has to be the next bastion that we’ve got to sort out. There is still far too much homophobia in our sports today and it’s wonderful to see the Rugby League leading the way in tackling that.”
As the party continued, the heavens opened and a torrential deluge soaked the crowd as thunder rumbled ominously overhead.
Undeterred and with brollies held high, the party-goers refused to be rained off and danced along to It’s Raining Men and Singing in the Rain, which had been swiftly put on by the quick-thinking DJ.
Then right on cue, the rain stopped and the sun came back out in time for the headline act, former X Factor winner Joe McElderry, who sang a selection of hits, including his new single, to a huge ovation.
A delighted Tom Doyle, Leeds Pride chairman, said: “Seven years ago there were about 40 of us on the steps of Leeds Town Hall celebrating Pride. This year, we’re expecting in excess of 30,000 people.”
He added: “We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a long, long way to go.”
X Factor stars 2 Shoes then sang to end the opening show before Pride’s landmark parade wound its way through the city, finishing at Call Lane.
The party continued into the afternoon and evening on the main stage on Lower Briggate.