The chair of Swindon and Wiltshire Pride has spoken of her sadness that this year’s event has been cancelled.

The committee in charge of the annual August LGBTQ+festival announced last week that is has been postponed.

Chair Jo Sharpe said: “It’s sad news but it’s the right move.

“We were looking at the public health guidelines and from our perspective we want the community and the public to be safe. We don’t know when the social distancing measures will be lifted.

“We also want to be respectful of the current situation. A Pride event is a celebration, and so many people have lost their lives across the world due to the virus, so it didn’t seem right to carry on the events planned for this year. “

The annual festival includes a colourful parade starting in Town Gardens, making its way through Old Town before returning. Various organisations, service providers and charities have stalls, as well as a stage for entertainment.

Last year saw record numbers, with more than 10,000 people attending throughout the day.

“We know this event means a lot to people,” added Jo.

“It was a really hard decision to make, but we as a committee actually came to it quite quickly because we know it’s the right decision.”

Much of the groundwork for the event had been done.

Jo said: “We had got a significant way down the line. we came together as committee at the end of September, beginning of October 2019 to plan this year’s event. We had all the infrastructure booked, the headliners booked, we had the whole day planned.

“But we’re lucky because some Pride events will probably not be in the position we are, to press the reset button.”

Nationwide Building Society, Thames Water and Unison have agreed to rollover sponsorship for 2021, and so the committee is hoping to transfer their plans to next year.

Jo added: “We’re not going anwhere. We’re here to support the LGBTQ+ community, and we will ensure all our social media pages remain active and think of ways we can still support our community if there isn’t going to be an event.

“Everybody is suffering from it at the end of the day – the whole of the UK and worldwide are going through these measures. It’s important that we all stand with each other and help each other.

“The main thing is that we’re confident the 2021 event is going to happen and we’ll have to come back bigger and better."