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Some 30,000 people braved the rain to take part in what organisers describe as ‘the biggest Pride parade London has seen in years’, with personal messages of support coming in from Kylie Minogue, David Cameron, Tom Daley, Stephen Fry and Sir Ian McKellen. Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst played her first UK concert to a 10,000 strong audience in Trafalgar Square, calling for ‘love, respect and tolerance’ around the world.
The #FreedomTo social media and advertising campaign – a first for a Pride in London event – allowed everyone to join in and talk about the issues that matter most to them. Those people submitting the best tweets were then featured alongside celebrities in the advertising on the London Underground and Buses.
The huge crowds lining Oxford Street and Regent Street were showered in confetti and glitter as over 200 groups, including dozens of floats, made their way to Trafalgar Square.
Trafalgar Square filled up early for the great line-up of entertainment that included Sinitta, Sam Fox, Heather Peace, Sam Bailey and Katrina. Celebrity hosts – including Dr Christian Jessen, Dusty O, and Chris and Emma of the Gaydio breakfast show – were also joined on stage by Imelda Staunton who spoke about her new film Pride, about LGBT support for the striking miners in the 80s. Kylie Minogue sent a video message from Sydney celebrating #FreedomTo love.
But it was undoubtedly Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst who stole the show. Sir Ian McKellen, tireless campaigner for equality and Patron of Pride in London, was greeted by a joyous roar and rapturous applause as he took to the stage to introduce Conchita.
Introducing the singer, Sir Ian said: ‘Show business has always led the way when it comes to the freedom to be yourself. So Conchita is following in the footsteps of our predecessors. There is a long tradition of outrageousness and confidence that performers embody, and that has an enormous impact. It clears the way for others to dare to be themselves. She has done just that.’
Speaking from the stage, Conchita Wurst said: ‘Let us be proud about who we are and let us give a statement for love, respect and tolerance.’
At the end of her performance the singer had her photograph taken with the 10,000 strong audience in Trafalgar Square.
Speaking on Monday, Michael Salter, Chair of Pride in London, thanked the hundreds of volunteers for their help. ‘Together with everyone in the Parade, all those lining the route or celebrating in Trafalgar Square, Golden Square and Soho,’ he said, ‘[they] gave our great city the fun, exciting, surprising and inspiring Pride it truly deserves. We at Pride in London want to go on delivering events of, by and for the entire LGBT+ community. This year again we saw how powerful that can be.’
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