Bolton Pride Journey

Bolton Pride's History..Pioneering Acceptance.. .

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Pictured: Mark Geary Bolton Pride director, Coronation Street star Antony Cotton, Sir Ian McKellen and James Edgington Bolton Pride Founder and Director.

Founded in 2015

The first Bolton Pride was founded in 2015 by its original founders James Edgington and Liz Pycroft. Their aim was to encourage Bolton to become more LGBT friendly and promote overall acceptance of the LGBTQ+ allies community.  The slogan "Love Bolton, hate homophobia" was born. Persaverance and hard work to put Bolton's proud and diverse community on the map brought renowned Sir Ian McKellen to Bolton's inaugural Pride festival and parade as a proud guest of honour at the first Bolton Pride.The creation of the event was partly a reaction to the release of statistics in early 2015 which showed that hate crime against LGBT people in Bolton had increased 135% in the previous year. This was not a good sign. Two years later, Bolton Pride won the Tell MAMA Award at the #No2H8 Crime Awards for their role in dealing with hate crime. A fantastic achievement that showcased recognition of the Bolton Pride's efforts to make a difference and affect positive change for the community. But it didn't end there.. add video links etc

Pride Bolton 2016 square pic

2016 - The Pride Parade & a Candel Lit Vigil..

..For Bolton Pride's second year a parade was introduced and continued the ‘Love Bolton, hate homophobia’ theme. It took place from 23 to 25 September and included a candle-lit vigil to commemorate victims of hate crime..  

The Bolton Diversity Awards were also held.

2017 - The Parade amasses 500 people with floats..

..Bolton Pride 2017 was held on the weekend of 30 September and 1 October. It featured a candlelit vigil, an LGBT film night, and live music.[9] The parade proudly marched through Bolton featuring fantastic support of around 500 people with / vids

pride bolton 2017
Pride bolton 2018

2018 - The Fantastic Showman..

Bolton Pride 2018 took place on 21–23 September. It consisted of a vigil, stalls in the market and Victoria Square, and a parade themed around The Greatest Showman and finishing in Victoria Square,[11]

2019 - Celerbrates it's fith year..

..Reurning for it's fith year, bigger and even more fabulous, the town hall was lit up in the colours of the rainbow and a street party outside the Market Place signaled the start of the event ­— the highlight of which was the the splensis parade.

Event co-ordinator, Liz Pycroft said: “Having Bolton Pride as a family friendly event helps spread the word for a zero tolerance attitude towards hate crime and homophobia along with helping to educate the importance of inclusivity be it youth or older members of the community.” She added: “The family day has always been a day to ensure education is at the heart..

Dvina Dcampo Pride Bolton 2020

2020 - Pride Bolton facilitates on-line event

COVID introduced global challenge's and this meant delivering a safe and inclusive accessible Pride solution.  We were able to announce a new online schedule for 2020 as we adapted to the changing coronavirus situation.

Crowds would usually pack Victoria Square with music and colour, but Pride Bolton 2020 saw events moving digital.

On Saturday, the event will kicked off at 3pm on our Facebook page with a host of guest presenters including Bolton FM’s Danny Simm.

The afternoon included chats, live performances and shout outs, with music from Marc Winstanley, Britain’s Got Talent’s Olivia Archbold, and local singer REDD.

Bringing the event to a close was esteemed Drag Race UK star Divina De Campo.

Co-Fonder James Edington, festival director, said: “We were excited to be planning Bolton Pride 2020 and as with many if not all planned live events across the world, we have not been able to produce the pride event that the town has come to expect and enjoy".

We were still keen to deliver some kind of event to mark Bolton Pride 2020 and actually due to the downtime our focus has shifted to begin planning something new for 2021.

“Our message is and has always been about raising the awareness of hate crime and more specifically homophobia in Bolton. We want the online event to be interactive where people watching from their homes can contact the team and get their shout outs read out live on the broadcast.

“Our online event will feature some incredible talent including the outstanding Divina De Campo. We’ve been lucky to have been supported by Divina since day one and this year is no exception even in these unprecedented times. Divina is already booked for 2021 and we can’t wait to see their performance back on a live stage with a large audience where it belongs.”

James also said that the festival will be back bigger and better next year after missing out on hosting the event in the normal way this year.

“We are disappointed that the larger live event can’t happen and we will miss meeting everyone however we’ll be back in 2021 with something really special,” he said.

COVID meant we may have felt down, but rising to the challenge, we were down but not out!

pride 2021

2021 - Pride Bolton 2021

Following government guideline and putting safety first, Pride Bolton delivered a fantastic line up kicking off with 'In Conversation with' in partnership with Bolton's very own 'Octagon Theatre' including a live stream and live panel audience that allowed for expressions of experience and dialogue on LGBTQ+ Allies issues faced by community members. The panel included Carl Austin-Behan, Jsky, Char Bailey, Maz Hedehog, Mattie Davies and hosted by Dan Westwood.

This was followed by live entertainment over the weekend including

the Pride Bolton launch party at the Octagon Theatre bar with live entertainment from Jordan Gray.

Tickets for the launch party were available but those who attend the panel discussion automatically gained entry to the bar afterwards.

Saturday saw be a Cabaret day full day of entertainment in the town centre at the Venue Bar on Churchgate.

From midday onwards there was 12 hours of performers and fun including local artists singing, a range of live music, drag acts and standup acts.

And lastly on Sunday there was a family and expo day at the Market Place and the Patio.

Live entertainment was held on the patio and stalls were open. Charities and community groups and stall holders were also the event who supported the LGBTQ+ Allies community.

Within the Market Place the Hate Crime Hub was present with hate crime awareness officers available for people to talk to and also a rainbow police car.


"I don't normally come out as I've got a lot of mental health issues and feel quite vulnerable and also suffer from acute to medium agoraphobia so am usually at home most of the time. I always look forwards to Bolton Pride and look forwards to it through the year and try and get myself mentally ready for it as large crowds normally scare me and make me feel anxious but it's like a holiday for me so i really look forwards to it. My best friend really looks out for me. I love all the colours and feeling of community it brings. It's hard to make friends because I'm always at home inside. I think people like me in a similar situation need Pride, I'm just glad Bolton has it"

(Nancy - Horwich resident - Identifies as her / she proud Lesbian )

Pride in Bolton celerbrating Diversity, Unity and Acceptance!
# Here to stay ♥️

"I need it, I need it, I need it. Me and my friends always look forwards to Bolton's Pride because it means we can all be together in a safe zone and feel normal. I'm so grateful to Bolton Pride for putting it on, it helps us feel accepted. Thank you Bolton Pride".

Thom - Farnworth resident - Identifies as he / him proud Gay man)

Pride Bolton for our valued LGBTQ+ Allies
# ♥️♥️ wins

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PRIDE BOLTON 2022 - Back with a BOOM! 7 years..

Pride Bolton 2022 is excited to be putting together a fantastic line up of events.  The unwanted COVID most certainly impacted every single person in one way or another and it felt like we were all forced to deal with being forced into a state of despair, for many almost like being in a bad dream that was not easing up.

Reflecting upon recent events over the last 2-3 years Pride Bolton is working hard to be able to deliver the PRIDE events and Parade that everyone enjoys so we can put Pride Bolton back on the map a Pride festival Boltonian's and those visiting can remember for time to come.

We've gone out and engaged with our community asking for your input and ideas to help shape Pride Bolton and we're always listening closely to our valued community. That's why this year we are now more than ever seeking to continue to engage with local community members and key stake holders and sponsors to ensure everyone has an influence and steer on what would like to be seen at Pride. So please send us your ideas or contact us to find out how you could help make Pride Bolton 2024 even better!

Ask us how you could get a place on our Focus Team to help shape Pride Bolton 2024!

Pride Bolton is run entirely by us now to see how you could get more involved.. .

Volunteers take many forms including..

| Parade Marshals | Parade Steward | Core Team Member | Panel Member | Leadership Team | Community Engagement Member | Event Runner | Pride Bolton Champion | But to name a few.. .