Manchester celebrates Pride all weekend

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An estimated 250,000 people took to the streets of Manchester last weekend to celebrate the culmination of eleven days of Pride events.

After 78 hours of partying at the Big Weekend, a solemn candlelit vigil was held to remember all those whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS yesterday.

The opening event of the weekend was a civil partnership ceremony for ten couples at Marriott Victoria Albert Hotel.

130 police officers from forces around the country took part in the Pride parade on Saturday in a show of solidarity with the LGBT community.

PC Darren Haslam, chairman of Greater Manchester Police’s Lesbian and Gay Staff Affiliation, commented:

“We want to show that we are both representative and supportive of all the communities we serve.”

The University of Manchester’s LGBT society also broke new ground in orchestrating their first-ever joint staff and students Pride parade group.

The main stage at the Big Weekend saw performances from The Gossip, Belinda Carlisle and Gareth Gates.

Manchester Pride is a fundraising opportunity for local HIV and LGBT charities.

Operation Fundraiser, working with Manchester Pride, has raised nearly half a million pounds in the past four year.

The money has been shared between more than eighty local LGBT and HIV groups and charities.

Manchester Pride was called the Ab Fab Weekend, GayFest and Mardi Gras in previous incarnations.