Weather won’t stop us celebrating Brighton and Hove Pride, organisers say

ITV News Meridian's Charlotte Wilkins reports from the parade

The weather “won’t be stopping us” as Brighton and Hove Pride parade gets under way amid wet and rainy conditions, organisers have said.

Revellers turned out to cheer on the much-celebrated Pride event along the seafront, despite yellow weather warnings from the Met Office.

Saturday’s parade was expected to draw 300,000 people to the city’s streets, among them community groups, small businesses and NHS services, as they march to the official Pride community fundraiser Fabuloso in the Park at Preston Park.

Many people donned plastic ponchos to protect their outfits from the rain Credit: Anahita Hossein-Pour/PA

Brighton Pride’s managing director Paul Kemp said: “We’ve encouraged people to wear ponchos so it might be a little bit Glastonbury.

“That wouldn’t stop us from having a great celebration and a great Pride in our city.”

He added: “Make sure you wear a poncho and slay that poncho, stay dry, look after your friends, don’t over do it, make sure you’ve got somewhere to stay and look out for people.”

The annual celebration is the city’s largest single event, expected to boost the economy by more than £20 million over the weekend.

However Govia Thameslink Railway will not be running any trains between London and Brighton on Saturday, blaming an overtime ban by the drivers’ union Aslef.

The annual celebration is the city’s largest single event Credit: Anahita Hossein-Pour/PA

Mr Kemp said organisers were disappointed a compromise could not be found.

He said: “It will affect turnout absolutely because people will be cut off from the rest of the country.

“I’m sorry for people who booked hotels and paid for accommodation and now can’t get in.”

However he said it “won’t derail us” and “the show goes on”.

Among those attending was Dame Kelly Holmes, her first Pride since coming out herself, who said,

"Life is for living and a lot of people, when you don't get the chance to be authentic self, just wake up dwelling, and actually what you want to be and we should be entitled to be, is to live our lives."

Saturday’s parade is expected to draw 300,000 people to the city’s streets Credit: Anahita Hossein-Pour/PA

Jamie Sanders, 36, travelled from Hastings, East Sussex, as one of the organisers for Sainsbury’s parade group.

While he was able to book a hotel overnight, out of 100 colleagues expecting to take part in the company’s parade, only 60 were able to make it due to the travel disruption.

But he said the “buses were brilliant”, picking people up across other locations to help them get there.

This year’s event, with the theme Dare To Be Different, marks the 50th anniversary of the first Brighton Pride march, organised by the Sussex Gay Liberation Front in July 1973.

Revellers sought protection from the elements during Pride in Brighton Credit: Anahita Hossein-Pour/PA

Mr Kemp said: “Those early pioneers 50 years ago who put their head above the parapet in different times, it was a very different environment for LGBT people at that time.

“We’re recognising the trailblazers around the city, we have lamp posts around the city of people who have been part of the movement and are current trailblazers. We’re celebrating being different.”

He said that while Pride is about celebration it is also about protest and in the UK “we’re standing by our trans siblings”.

He added: “There’s a feeling from the LGBT community we’re being slightly politicised for political reasons, when people really should be focused on the real issues like the environment, cost of living, the things that really affect lives.”