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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 June, 2005, 15:31 GMT 16:31 UK
City's first Gay Pride heralded
Gay Pride in Canterbury
Organisers said as many as 1,000 people joined the parade
A Kent city's first Gay Pride events are taking place, including a Picnic in the Park on Saturday.

A parade through Canterbury ended at Dane John Gardens, where there was a range of entertainment and stalls.

Andrew Brettell, chairman of Pride In Canterbury, said it was a "significant day" for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Council, police and health services were using the event to forge better contacts with the LGBT community.

Traders from the Canterbury area were joined by stalls run by businesses from as far away as Manchester.

Speeches were backed up by messages of support from Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Elizabeth Taylor.

'Lively and vibrant'

Organiser Martin Lammas said the day offered an opportunity to create a thriving gay community in east Kent.

"We want to show everybody that the gay community is lively and vibrant and has a lot to offer," said Mr Lammas.

Canterbury's Pride events in June also include a display of gay literature at the city's library and film screenings, as part of the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, at the University of Kent's Gulbenkian Theatre.

Pride In Canterbury hopes to make Picnic in the Park an annual event alongside an arts festival.

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