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    First Published: August 2003
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
EuroPride 2003, held for the first time in the UK, has been declared the best ever. With over 150 events in Manchester over ten days, the festival reached more than a quarter of a million people and significant funds have been raised for HIV and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organisations across Greater Manchester. The Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, sponsored in part by OutUK, had audiences double last year.
EuroPride started on the 15th August but one of the highlights was when the world’s longest Rainbow Flag stretching a quarter of a mile in length and weighing more than half a tonne was carried in the Key 103 EuroPride Parade on Bank Holiday Saturday.
The piece of the Rainbow Flag, which is a quarter of the original created by Gilbert Baker in 1978 as a symbol of gay and lesbian pride was specially loaned to EuroPride 2003. As the flag was carried through the streets of Manchester, people spontaneously ran from the pavements to help carry it on its way, while others threw money into its centre for Operation Fundraiser. More than £1700 was collected during the parade.
Robert Kastl, President of EPOA, the founding organisation for EuroPride, was glowing about Manchester's achievement.
“This EuroPride has been fantastic, the best EuroPride so far. Manchester has done EuroPride well, they have staged a truly professional event which has been safe and fun for all the visitors.

"The Parade was the most colourful and artistic I have ever seen in Great Britain."

EuroPride was great for Manchester too as Councillor Pat Karney told us:

"This has been a fantastic ten days - a wonderful time of celebration.

"It is a great honour for Manchester to have hosted, for the first time, Europe's premier gay festival and I am thrilled at the huge numbers of international visitors who received a warm welcome to our city and who clearly revelled in the party atmosphere.
12 hours, 2 venues, 1 massive hangover! 4500 revellers party at the Uni Challenge held over EuroPride weekend.
Andrew Stokes, Chief Executive of Marketing Manchester, said:

"EuroPride 2003 has succeeded in raising the profile of Manchester as a city of diversity, culture and furthermore, a city that knows how to mount extraordinary events.

Actor Sir Ian McKellen said the event was a wonderful experience:

“How wonderful to see the Rainbow Flag flying from the top of the Town Hall. What a difference today from 15 years ago when I first came to Manchester and marched through the streets against Section 28. That was the year I came out.”

“2003 is the year we finally repeal Section 28. But that’s not enough. When the Church of England can’t make up its mind and join the human race we still have much to do. Now we have to start education for young people, educate them about health, homophobia and all those things.

“When I saw the faces of the people lining the streets as I rode through Manchester in the parade, tears of joy ran down my face. Kids, old people, mothers, grandparents and a real racial mix – it was tremendous. And not a single person objecting to us being there.

“They were there. Meanwhile our politicians sun themselves in places like Barbados, they should be here – with us.”

EuroPride Parade photos courtesy www.terrygeorge.co.uk.
Uni Challenge photo courtesy Bar Fibre.
Sir Ian McKellen photo by Keith Stern.

Amsterdam Pride 2003
London Pride 2003

 

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