"It was a hot, sunny day on a bank holiday weekend in August when I went to my favourite Pride. It was only my second time attending a Pride event, but it is one of those wonderful memories that I'll cherish forever."

 

"At the time, I was a member of an LGBT group called 'Older and Out' who met weekly on Friargate in Preston and we'd organised a float to drive through the parade; the theme was 'West End Boys and Girls'. A year earlier, I'd attended my first Pride with Older and Out as doctors and nurses (I was the surgeon!), but I'll never forget my second Pride; it was such a special and enjoyable experience...

 

As the date for my second-ever Pride neared, the organisers in our group asked me if I'd like to dress up as Dusty Springfield as part of the West End Boys and Girls theme, and obviously, that was a big "oh yes!" from me. Dusty Springfield is one of my biggest idols, someone I looked up to and one of the greatest gay icons of all time.

 

On the day of the parade, I climbed onto the back of the float dressed as my idol, Dusty, and as the music started up - Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield, naturally - we set off driving through the streets. I was in my element.

 

It was a gorgeous, sunny, hot day and all the streets looked so colourful! There were thousands of people at that year's Manchester Pride. I think they said it was one of the biggest Pride events of all time. I loved hearing people cheering and clapping for Dusty as they noticed me on the float!

 

Just as the parade finished, the heavens opened, and it started to throw it down with rain, drenching everyone! But this only added to the fantastic, feel-good atmosphere!

 

So my second Pride was my most special and memorable, and I still cherish memories of that day now. If you ever get a chance to go to a Pride event, do go. It's an experience you'll never forget!"


Hazel is a Progress Housing Group independent living tenant and has previously spoken about the issues affecting LGBTQ+ people locally and nationally, within the NHS and at other housing groups. She is passionate about raising awareness of the issues affecting LGBTQ+ people - especially older people - and improving the lives of people who are transgender.