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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 August 2005, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Candlelit vigil closes festival
Thousands joined in the Manchester Pride celebrations
Festival organisers expected about 45,000 people at city centre events
One of the largest events in Europe for lesbian, gay and bisexuals closes on Monday with a candlelit vigil.

The Sackville Park vigil, which marks the end of the 10-day Manchester Pride Festival, is being held to pay tribute to those touched by the HIV virus.

The festival opened with a sports tournament on 18 August.

The parade is the festival highlight and tens of thousands lined the streets on Saturday to watch dozens of floats travel through Manchester city centre.

The Army joined a gay pride parade for the first time, as soldiers marched with lesbians and gay men.

Plane cockpit

About 10 uniformed soldiers paraded and manned a recruitment stall.

Twenty RAF colleagues manned a float featuring a plane cockpit - the RAF was the first armed service to join a gay pride festival at last year's event.

The ban on homosexuals in the armed forces was lifted in January 2000.

Organisers said they expected about 45,000 people at city centre events from Friday until midnight on Monday.

See why the army is joining gay pride

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