Saturday 1 October 2016 – Chester Pride with friends

Chester Pride is the last gay pride of the year and this year’s was only the fourth annual event the city’s LGBT community has held. It is also the first time I have been to Chester Pride, and my third pride this year after Liverpool in July and Manchester in August.  I went with some friends and some people I’d not met before. We gathered at Liverpool Central Station and got the train to Chester. From the station in Chester we caught a rail link bus into the centre of the ancient Roman city and county town of Cheshire. After a time in the Old Queens Head pub, where we had some drinks and waited for others to join us, we walked through to Castle Square behind Chester Castle and the law courts where the pride’s after-parade events were being held.  We hadn’t gone for the parade itself, which had finished by the time we were in the Old Queens Head.

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Those meeting at Liverpool Central were myself and, pictured above, Clair, Tony Stewart, Katherine,  Penny and Cheryl Flannery-Thompson, Mario Kyriacou and Gareth Williams.

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On the train to Chester: Gareth does an impression of the singer Sonia. Mario and Tony. It is Mario who is organising an event in Manchester in November at which Sonia is performing. Penny (at her first pride), Cheryl and Gareth.

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At the Old Queens Head pub: Tony, Paula Sutcliffe and Mario. Andy Ritchie, Myself and Gareth. Gareth and Andy.

At Castle Square there were numerous tents, marquis, bars and food stalls. There was the “Glitter Lounge”’ where people were getting on stage and singing – some good, some not so good. There was also a small fairground and a music stage with acts performing throughout the day and into the night. The weather was fine for most of the day, with a downpour mid-afternoon which failed to dampen people’s spirits. One of the performers was Nicki French, who represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2000. Gareth Williams and Mario Kyriacou were big fans though, before today, I’d never heard of her. Gareth was getting very excited and at one point was dancing as she sang her Eurovision song “Don’t Play That Song Again” – which, no doubt, she does play again every time she performs.  Gareth was filming himself with both a video camera and his phone as he danced with Nckki in the background – much to the amusement of onlookers.  After Nicki French  finished her set, we went backstage – or more accurately, backtent, and Gareth, Mario, Andy and Tony were chatting with her and had their photo taken with her. I filmed and photographed them acting like Nicki French’s groupies.

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Nicki French & her groupies: Gareth dances and films at the same time. Andy with Nicki. Mario & Tony with her.

We spent several hours at Castle Square. I was tiring by around 6.30 as a result of nerve damage I suffer from and decided to leave. I said my goodbyes and walked back to Chester Train Station and got a train back to Liverpool.  The others stayed on for a few hours more before staggering home themselves via Merseyrail.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF GARETH: Mark Kyle Cooper, Myself, Andy, Gareth & Mario. Mark & Gareth. Andy & Gareth.

On getting home towards 9pm I sorted out my photos and videos to post online. You can view just my photos on my FLICKR site. The unformatted videos (with original, but poor quality, audio) can be viewed on my YOUTUBE channel. Alternatively, you can watch a formatted version of both the videos and photos put to music also on my YOUTUBE channel. You can view my photos from other Prides on my FLICKR site.

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Two group photos: (left) l-r: Myself, Paula, Andy, Mario, Gareth, Penny, Cheryl, Tony, Clair, Katherine.

(right, in the Old Queens Head) clockwise from left: Paula, Mario, Tony, Cheryl, Penny, Katherine, Clair, Andy, Myself & Gareth

 

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