THE town’s first Skipton Pride in the Park event on Saturday was hailed a resounding success of music and entertainment and was attended by thousands of festival-goers over the course of the afternoon and evening.

Organised almost wholly by Skipton Town Council, the festival, hosted by Rombalds Radio, presented a whole series of acts including the children of Selfa children’s charity who performed a dance. Craven College Arts students danced to Foot Loose and This is Me, from the Greatest Showman while the All Together Now Choir - a local group of singers - combined traditional choral tones with new upbeat pop songs.

Local lad Sam Ashby, aka Smashby, a former Craven College student who has gone on to MTV’s hit dating show, Love Squad, performed on stage, as too did Skipton acoustic singer Mikey May.

Other acts included The Manchester Proud Chorus, an 80 strong choral group with up-lift Pride songs, The Magnetics - a superb seven-piece band, The Magnificent 7 with an impressive live brass section including trumpet, trombone and saxophone, and Abba Re-Bjorn, a group of extremely talented and professional singers and musicians who together make the most authentic sounding tribute to Abba, one of the greatest and best loved bands of all time.

Star of the show for comedy, singing and dancing was undoubtedly Leo Loren better known by the stage name Baga Chipz and who is a British drag queen known for competing on the first series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

Hannah Corrigan, events manager for Skipton Town Council said: “ “A fantastic day for Skipton, a step forward with Pride and progress was made for the town and its people. It was wonderful to see so many people come out and support the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies.

“We hope this can become an annual event and will grow in its success. A huge thank you to all the entertainers, staff, supporters, sponsors and all who helped make the day such a success.”

Speakers on the day included Lindsey Johnson CEO and Principal of Craven College and Michael Morgan, founder of the LGBTQIA+ Skipton Community Group.

On the field there were refreshments along with a series of stalls, including Skipton Library, and a fun fair for children.

Sponsors and contributors included Skipton Town Council, Skipton Building Society, Skipton BID and The National Lottery Community Fund.

Craven College created the stage décor while the event was supported with stalls representing Skipton Step into Action, Pioneer Projects, Wharfedale Airedale & Craven Alliance, pop-up GP and Primary Care Network, Health Workforce North Yorkshire, IDAS, Breast Screening, Craven Youth Council, North Yorkshire Pride Employee Network and Dementia Forward.

Both North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service were in attendance with firefighters wearing specially commissioned T-shirts.

Settle Town Councillor Joe Lord (pictured above), who was celebrating his birthday that day, said Settle Town Council was also looking at staging a Pride event next year.