Homophobic vandals cause thousands of pounds of damage in attack on local Pride event

Dewsbury Pride

Organisers of Dewsbury Pride have revealed they were left “devastated” when vandals destroyed the marquee set to host the small event in West Yorkshire.

The damage done was estimated to have cost organisers and the pub hosting the local Pride thousands of pounds.

However, organisers have since smashed a fundraising goal to repair the damage and replace items.

Chloe Mitchell, one of the organisers of Dewsbury Pride, told PinkNews that the event, hosted by Leggers Inn, began receiving emails targeting it a week before it was held on Saturday (15 July). 

These emails included threats of legal action and the launch of a Twitter group that threatened to protest the event with a rally that no one turned up to attend.

Following the failed protest, Mitchell said the organisers turned up on the morning of the event to find their marquee had been cut to shreds. 

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‘We were all devastated’

“It’s been a difficult few weeks dealing with it all,” Mitchell said.

“The day of the event we turned up at around 9am in the morning to find that they’ve taken knives to the marquee and cut it all open. There’s no doubt in our minds that’s the same people who have been threatening to stop the event.

“The venue (Leggers Inn) were so supportive and they refused to back down despite what people had been saying and doing. They’ve supported us fully and gave us the venue free of charge.” 

“We were all devastated,” Mitchell said of the vandalism, but she also highlighted the heartwarming community response. Within half an hour of discovering the damage, people came together to help ensure the event went ahead.

“It was like we saw the best and worst of humanity in the space of about 24 hours. 

“We all came together and fixed it as best we could. We held the event and it went really well. The publicity from what they did probably helped the event.”  

An “emotional day” was taken over by “pride in the community” Mitchell said, as people pulled together to put the event on. 

A GoFundMe set up to raise around £4,000 for the vandalism and damage to Leggers Inn’s property has already hit its goal.

‘You should always stand up on the side of right’

“Our dedication to our local community extends to every member regardless of sexual orientation race or anything else that people may discriminate against,” a spokesperson for the Leggers Inn told PinkNews.

They added: “It is our opinion that you should always stand up on the side of right, and that’s why we went ahead with the event.

“We may have been vandalised but we were also helped, donated to and supported and that is the true nature of our local community.” 

In June, the former chair of Pride in Gloucestershire invited vandals who destroyed Pride banners and covered them with homophobic graffiti to attend the event and “educate” themselves. 

The invite followed a lesbian couple from Bristol speaking out after their Pride doormats were stolen and vandalised in an incident that left them “heartbroken” but saw their neighbours come together to support them.

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