Pride in Ely packed full of people, full of hope, full of laughter and with a message from the mayor that ‘Pride is the answer not adopting victimhood’
- Credit: Archant
Within minutes of opening the door there was hardly a space to be found; the tears were shortly to come too among the 1,000 visitors that had passed through within the first 90 minutes.
A special work commissioned by dance group 4th Dimension explored many of the themes of the day, and parents watching and supporters of Pride in Ely were captivated by the message.
Their performance set the seal on a day marked by an outpouring of support from East Cambridgeshire and wider afield as Pride in Ely kicked the weather forecasts into touch by bringing the entire festival inside to The Maltings.
Few would have guessed the small group organising the event had grown even smaller in recent months and with little cash to inject into the celebration it hardly seemed to matter. Groups, individuals, organisations all rallied to support the event that passed off without a glitch with much laughter, humour, an eclectic range of music and a pulsating message of hope and the desire for a change in people's perception of the LGBT+ community.
"What an incredible day," said one of the organisers. "Thanks to everyone who helped make Pride in Ely the party of the year,
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"It was an emotional day topped off by seeing Ely Cathedral's Octagon Tower lit up in rainbow colours to celebrate Pride in Ely. We couldn't be prouder of our amazing city tonight."
Mayor Mike Rouse opened Pride noting that unusually for him "it's good to feel a little under dressed at times".
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He told guests: "As your mayor I am proud of our city - its diversity and friendliness."
He said that the City of Ely Council had recently and unanimously supported a resolution on inclusivity.
"This restated our belief that whatever a person's disabilities, race, gender, religion whatever the seeming differences, we should respect each other.
"Sadly it was necessary because there seems to have been an increase in intolerance and in some cases hate within sections of our society.
"Personally, and as a council, we are appalled by this and will do everything we can to keep our city a welcoming and inclusive community."
The mayor added: "At my age I have seen many changes in attitudes within our society and my hope is that my children, now in their twenties, will grow up in a more tolerant and understanding environment. I admit there is still some way to go and it is no use just hoping - it often takes action to bring about change.
"That is why days like this are important. Pride is the answer, not adopting victimhood."