McKellen backs pride event

Sir Ian McKeellen shows where his house was on Parson Walk during his visit to Wigan last year

Sir Ian McKeellen shows where his house was on Parson Walk during his visit to Wigan last year

Sir Ian McKellen, the inspiration behind Wigan’s first ever Pride, has given the event his support.

The film star posted on his Facebook that he was “excited” for the celebration, which takes place later this year.

I am excited that Wigan is to have its own Pride event. I only wish such things had been possible when I was a school boy at the Grammar School in the 1950s

Sir Ian McKellen

Earlier this week, organisers revealed how Sir Ian’s return to his hometown last year inspired the Pride event.

Sir Ian wrote: “I am excited that Wigan is to have its own Pride event. I only wish such things had been possible when I was a school boy at the Grammar School in the 1950s.”

A committee calling itself BYOU has been set up by young people to organise the event which will be held in the town centre on August 13.

The group is receiving support from youth workers from Wigan Council’s Voice and Engagement Team.

The group met Wiganer Sir Ian, who is openly gay, last year when he visited the town to unveil a star on Believe Square.

Wigan Council youth worker Scott Williams is heading up the committee and believes it’s a great opportunity for Wigan. He said: “After attending a number of regional Prides the youth group recognised that their own borough didn’t offer a Pride event.

“Young people asked questions and sent out invites to an initial meeting requesting partnership support, this was met very positively and on November 5 Wigan Pride held its first committee meeting – made up of representatives from Wigan Council, Local councillors, Clinical Commissioning Group, Public Health, Greater Manchester Police, Wigan Athletic community trust, Trust in Leigh, The Old Courts CIC, Wigan And Leigh Housing, 5 Borough Partnership, Wigan Wrightington and Leigh NHS, Unison, Unite and many more.

“The young people were originally inspired to campaign for a Pride event in Wigan by Sir Ian McKellen when they had the opportunity to speak and meet this iconic figure during his visit last year.”

Wigan Pride will be a family and community event held in the centre of town, a visibility and awareness-raising opportunity of LGBT in Wigan Borough.

Organisers believe the event will celebrate diversity and the lives of local LGBT people in the borough and will bring the community together with live music, street entertainment and an array of stalls providing information of local services accessible for inclusive support and advice.

The group has also set up a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Wigan-Pride-2016-834031916725041/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel which will publish the latest developments.