SWINDON and Wiltshire’s Pride will be celebrating its fifth birthday in style this weekend with a party like no other.
Organisers promise Saturday’s event will be bigger and better than ever before with more stages, first class entertainment from chart toppers to glamorous drag acts and an impressive parade which promises to include a few surprises.
Mobo award winner Baby D will be wowing the crowd with her 1990s hits Let Me Be Your Fantasy, So Pure and Take Me to Heaven, while international dance DJ and former Celebrity Big Brother star Basshunter promises to get the party started.
And the party, which will have a rainbow theme, won’t just be confined to the Town Gardens – as the owner of Pink Rooms has promised a weekend to remember at the club in Regent Circus.
Tonight, from 8pm until late, party-goers can Challenge Cherry to sing any song of their choice, while tomorrow night is Fish Bowl Friday.
And on Saturday, the Pride Party at the club will see one lucky clubber walk away with a cash prize.
Team Pink will be on hand throughout Saturday giving away 200 free pink devil horns and one lucky devil will receive the special prize of £100.
As well as hosting the Pride Party, Pink Rooms owner Matthew Hearn, 35, will be performing with The Dream Girls alongside Daniel Jefferies and Wayne Garrick, and backing dancers Dion Mullholland and Ryan Donovan.
He said: “This year will see us involved in Pride more than ever before and everyone is going to love it.
“It is important to support your local Pride as much as you can and support your local gay community. As the manager of the Pink Rooms I like to get involved in a big way.
“This year it is going to be bigger than ever before, there are more stages, bigger headliners and a variety of different acts.”
Matthew, whose stage name is Miss Matrice, will perform with The Dream Girls on the Nation-wide Main Stage at 4pm.
He said: “I can’t give too much away about our show but it is going to be tremendous.
“Everybody in the gay community knows about us – the finale to our slot is costing over £100 a minute and it is five minutes long. The outfits alone have cost us in the region of £2,500.
“It is going to be amazing.”
Rod Bluh , leader of Swindon Council, said: “In these tough economic and social times, it is vital that we all embrace the principles of mutual respect, tolerance and good will that encompass this event.
“Swindon Pride is a public commitment to unity from all residents that is also great fun. I urge as many people as possible to support the events.”
For more information visit www.swindonpride.com.
Help with health
MEN’S Sexual Health will be supporting the Swindon and Wiltshire Pride this year.
The team will be on hand providing sexual health advice and signposting, free safe sex packs, a wide range of relevant leaflets on health matters of interest to young and old, and a selection of goodies to take away.
Men’s Sexual Health has been able to expand the service they have provided at previous Pride events, by teaming up with staff from the Sexual Health Department at Great Western Hospital, and will be offering free, on site, confidential gonorrhea screening for the first time, in addition to the chlamydia screening already on offer.
Anyone who screens for either or both of these will be able to choose a free gift for taking part and screening is offered to both men and women.
A spokesman for the charity said: “Many people are aware that chlamydia is the most widespread sexually transmitted infection in the country, and a leading cause of infertility if left untreated.
“It most commonly affects the 16 to 24-year-old age group and is commonly known as ‘The Silent STI’ because many people who have it have no symptoms and thus do not get tested and treated.
“STIs still are on the rise in all age groups. If a person has contracted chlamydia they are at greater risk of contracting another STI. This year at Pride, age is no barrier, and the staff from Men’s Sexual Health and GWH will bring our screening tents out and welcome everyone to come in.”