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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 August, 2004, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
RAF joins city's Gay Pride parade
Participants at Manchester Pride 2003
Manchester Pride is the largest event of its kind in the UK
The RAF was taking part in Manchester's Gay Pride parade on Saturday in the hope it would persuade more homosexuals to sign up.

Eight officers were among more than 60 floats in the parade, which is part of the UK's biggest gay festival.

An estimated 250,000 people are expected to line the streets.

It is the first time one of the armed forces has taken part in a pride event since the ban on gays and lesbians in the armed forces was lifted.

The RAF said: "It doesn't matter what religion, colour, gender or sexual orientation you are, we are looking for the best person for the job."

Festival organisers hope to beat last year's figure of 127,000 which was raised for gay, lesbian, transsexual and transgender projects, and HIV support organisations in the North West.

Parade entrant for Manchester Pride
Organisers hope to raise more than 2,000

This year, many parade entrants received free help from artist's workshops to make their floats and costumes look good.

Parade manager Jez Dowlan said: "The workshops have ensured that some of the entries are bigger, better and more glamorous than ever.

"Working with our team of artists, people have learned new skills and ways of making their costumes more glittering and gorgeous than before.

"Also look out for our own team of artists who will be parading with fabulous costumes through the streets of Manchester this Saturday. Think Southern Belle can-can dancer - rainbow style."

Bridget Hughes, head of the NHS public health development service, which will form the largest walking section of the parade, said: "We were overwhelmed and delighted with people who wanted to show their support from all sectors of the NHS: nursing and medical, physiotherapy, health protection and public health.

'Wonderful colour'

"This is a unique opportunity to publicly show our support and celebrate the diversity of this vibrant city."

Councillor Mary Murphy, Manchester City Council's lead councillor for Lesbians' issues said: "The Pride parade always brings wonderful colour and vibrancy to the city centre.

"I was delighted, last year, to see such broad based community involvement and I am sure this will continue.

"It's excellent to see so many different community groups participating in the celebration."




SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Manchester Pride
28 Aug 04  |  Photo Gallery
RAF recruiting drive at gay march
26 Aug 04  |  Manchester
Gay group seeks Mobo awards ban
23 Aug 04  |  Entertainment
Manchester will swell with Pride
21 Aug 04  |  Manchester


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