Well, it’s that time again. Arguably the highlight of our year. The Manchester Pride weekend has come around again!
Befitting the occasion “Chance” was sporting enough rainbow flags to make the point.
Saturday morning we had pre-parade bubbly on board with a few friends. Luke and Simon, James, Seb, Scott and Gary.
At 1 o’ clock sharp the parade got underway and this year was lead by the new Lord Mayor of Manchester and his husband. Love the gown sir!
One of the first floats to come round the corner was the much awaited Coronation Street entry ………
….. with soap stars Mary and Gary ……..
…….. and Anna!
We must never forget the amazing work and support by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Foundation.
Mr and Mr!
The effort and hard work put in by the solo entries to the parade is astonishing.
Love the heels!
A Roman invasion? – we hope!
Anything that stands still long enough gets a makeover.
One happy bunny! He was here last year as well!
And we think this chap was as well! Just one of the hunks representing the Rembrandt bar.
Says it all really!
Doug was warned he’d get nicked! (Well, just for a short while anyway). The “Force”, as always, get enormous respect for their presence in the parade.
We’re always glad to see The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence making sure that things don’t get too raunchy!
Luke and Doug making new friends.
The Fire Brigade had given one of their engines a real good paint job but there’s still a bit of pink in it somewhere! Again, another one of the services shown great appreciation by the crowd.
Well said:- “Transgender is not a Choice – Transphobia is”.
The Parade this year seemed much more intimate – the crowds almost mingling with the entries. This is the NHS entry getting mobbed!
Our precious and dedicated Paramedics , Nurses ………
…… Doctors and Surgeons get a great reception.
As part of the love and respect which Pride stands for, we remember all parts of the world where LGBT people suffer at the hands of prejudice and hatred.
There he is again - in on the act as usual! Wonder why?
Where are those Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence when you need them?
After 2 hours of whooping, shouting, screaming, clapping and general public adoration for all the parade entries it all came to an end.
The last float was followed closely by an army of road sweeper machines and cleaners. Well done Manchester!
With the excitement finished at ‘our’ end of things we sauntered towards Canal Street and “The Village” for the after parade party. So many of the crowd as well had made a great effort towards the party mood.
Great pic of us all by Luke: Scott, James, Gary, Simon and Doug.
In the Village the party soon got into full swing and there were so many colourful people to add to the atmosphere. Here’s a few of them:-
As usual, there’s much mingling and chatter with the people that took part in the parade. Here’s Luke and Doug making friends again. (We really should keep Luke and Doug apart a bit more!) Don’t they do two pint glasses Luke!?
We met up with friend John who we haven’t seen for a quite a while. That was a real treat and he’s looking amazing fit and handsome!
There was room in Canal Street for just a few more people but that was it!
Doug, James, Simon and Luke ………
…… and Seb!
As the party continued we returned back to the boat for a rest and a wash and brush up before the evening events. We found friend Ray, on nb “Stronghold”, who’d been in touch with us earlier, had safely breasted up with us until he found a spare mooring. After a bit of a rest we returned to the Village for the evening fun.
On Day 3 (Sunday) we had a lovely visit from friends Lewis and Pawel who we haven’t seen for quite a while since selling their narrow boat. Scott and Gary also joined us for another ‘bubbly’ start to the day. (and thanks chaps for supplying some of the bubbly)
There was some great music and entertainment on the stage in Sackville Gardens (next to Canal Street) during the afternoon on Sunday. James had a great time trying, but failing, to improve his dancing technique!
Great use of an old bus in Sackville Gardens.
There were some great characters around again!
Sunday evening saw Will Young on stage as the star performer of the weekend as well as Sophie Ellis Bextor. A great performance from him.
Monday was the last day of the Pride weekend. Normally a bit quieter than previous days, this year the place was still buzzing. The attendance seemed to be way up this year and it was noticeable in the numbers trying to get into the arena for the evening performances. Scott and Gary’s friend Emmanuel came over to join in the fun on this, the last day. So good to meet you Emmanuel and hopefully we’ll catch up again one day.
On Monday evening there was the regular Candlelight Vigil, and the formal end to the Pride celebrations, in Sackville Gardens. This is the time when we put partying to one side for an hour and remember those who have lost their battle with HIV and AIDS and those who are now living with the condition. This year the huge crowd (we were well to the front in this view – most of the crowd was behind us!) took part in a very inspiring one minute long hand clap as part of our remembrance and, towards the end, we had the usual lighting of candles and the very moving one minute’s silence.
At the end of the Vigil many of us place our candles around the bronze statue of Alan Turing as a mark of respect. Alan Turing’s genius proved vital in the war effort and arguably, if any, he was the individual who could be said to have won WWII for us through his deciphering of the Enigma codes. He was also the forefather of computing technology and machine intelligence. After the war he was treated disgracefully by the government of the day because of his homosexualality. He was chemically castrated and his life ruined and, in the end, he took his own life. Although now pardoned, his treatment will be a black mark in British history for ever.
Having felt it important to say all that, this year’s Manchester Pride celebrations have been the best ever for us. We have met up with so many friends (too numerous to show pics and to name) and we’ve made many new friends who, hopefully, will be part of our lives for a long time to come. We leave Manchester(and our annual summer holiday!) behind with a heavy heart.