RAINBOWS of colour brightened up the streets of Old Town as Swindon and Wiltshire Pride returned in style with a massive parade.

Bursts of confetti and cheering filled the air as crowds lined up to watch the procession that showcased support from Swindonians of all ages as well as the town’s businesses, charities, sports clubs and emergency services.

Stuart Richens from West Swindon brought his sons Indiana, Maverick and Marty to enjoy the festivities. He said: “We missed it last year and it’s nice to have it back. The kids loved seeing all the flags and vehicles.”

Indiana, seven-and-a-half, said: “I loved the carnival stuff and the confetti, it was amazing.”

Julie Warren from Penhill said: “I thought it was excellent. They should do more things like this in Swindon. I loved all of it, it was very well-organised. I came down with my mum and she thought it was brilliant, we’re very impressed. This is the first Pride event we’d been to and we’d like to come back next year.”

Blustery winds and the odd bit of drizzle did not dampen spirits as hundreds of people packed into the Town Gardens to enjoy an afternoon of performances at the Old Town Bowl and an array of activities.

Many visitors dressed up with costumes, flags, flower-necklaces, masks and angel wings or showed off Technicolour hairstyles and face paint.

Shane Rayner of Pinehurst and Whitney Neil of Walcot marched in the parade.

Shane said: “It’s a hugely important event for the whole community, not just for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people but straight people too, it unites all of us together as one.

“This is the one day a year where you can be your true self and not feel judged. We were heartbroken when it wasn’t on last year, everyone loves it. The best bit is definitely the parade.”

Whitney said: “I love the noise and the atmosphere. There’s a lot of hate out there so it’s nice to see so many people supporting the event.

“It’s great that they had all the different flags for different genders and sexualities, it’s been educational. We’ve enjoyed the day.”

Community poet Tony Hillier brought a leaflet from the first-ever event in 2008 - a leaflet he helped put together.

He said: “What a great community event this is. It brings everyone together and shows why Swindon is such a great place to live. It’s fantastic that it’s back and firing on all cylinders.”