Worthing Pride organisers have thanked our town for backing the inaugural event.
Thousands of people lined the seafront on Saturday to see the parade, which began at 1pm outside the Burlington Hotel and ended at the main pride event at Beach House Grounds.
Almost 4,000 people bought tickets for the main event, ‘smashing’ expectations, co-organiser James Spencer said.
He thanked businesses and the public for their support, adding: “I’m so proud of them for embracing it as much as they did. It has proved a lot of people wrong, particularly those from outside of Worthing, about what the town stands for. They are a lot more open to diversity than people give them credit for.
“It has been so well received, and I’m so proud to be part of our first pride, which has made history.”
He added that the event ‘will definitely happen next year’, and organisers have taken on board feedback that more food and drink stalls are needed after long queues for refreshments.
Worthing Pride has been raising money for West Sussex Coastal Mind, an independent, Worthing-based mental health charity, and the Allsorts Youth Project, which helps LGBTU people aged 16 to 25 in Chichester, Horsham and Brighton.
Josie Kelly, co-organiser, said they will be tallying up how much they have raised in the next few days.
She said there was no criminal behaviour at the main event, with medics only having to help one person throughout the day.
There are no plans to increase the size of the event, as this would mean having to move it out of the town centre – taking away the ‘carnival atmosphere’ and business to pubs and bars in the area. The capacity for Beach House Grounds is 4,500, so there was some scope for it to grow, she added.
Organisers stayed after the headline act, ABBA Magic, finished to help tidy the area. Worthing Borough Council has commenced a deep clean of the area to make sure it is ‘like brand new’, Josie said.
She said: “Worthing was ready for its first pride, and it will go down as a day in history.”
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