In The South

A rural Pride in Totnes

Alice Blezard August 21, 2015

Historic Devon market town Totnes is set to host it’s third Pride celebration on Saturday September 5.

Totnes Pride

Preparations are underway for the third Totnes Pride, which will bring together the local LGBTQ+ communities along with their friends, families and allies for a full day and night of celebration in the town.

Totnes-based social enterprise Proud2Be Project is organising a host of events in the town, which has become regarded as the UK’s largest rural Pride event.

This year’s Pride brings two special guests to Totnes. CN Lester, is a singer-songwriter, writer, classical musician, and activist. Named as one of the most influential LGBTQ+ people in the country two years running by The Independent, and having founded the first Gay/Straight Alliance in the UK, CN Lester co-founded Queer Youth Network, has run cross-genre art night Transpose, and consults on trans issues with the London Assembly, NASUWT, NUS and Channel 4.

CN Lester

CN said: “There’s a dangerous myth that LGBT people only exist in large cities, in gay districts – that we’re not a normal part of everyday life. The best Prides I’ve ever attended have been smaller Prides around the country that celebrate and support all members of the LGBT communities, showing us in all our complexity, including us in the fabric of our wider communities. I’m absolutely thrilled to have been asked to participate in Totnes Pride – here’s to breaking down barriers and stereotypes together.”

Joining CN will be Jacq Applebee, the Co-founder of Bi’s of Colour as well as being an activist and a writer.  She is the winner of a Bisexual Cake Award, and made it on to the first ever Purple List, which honours bisexual activism. Jacq has delivered presentations and workshops on bisexuality to organisations such as the British Psychology Society, the Metropolitan Police, and at Cambridge University.

About her involvement, Jacq said; “I am a firm believer of the importance of reaching LGBT people who are isolated, including those in rural areas. In the first bisexuals of colour survey and report, which I produced, isolation was one of the regular themes that resulted in participants not feeling part of their LGBT communities. Totnes Pride will be my first Devon LGBT event, but hope it won’t be my last!”

The day starts at 11am outside The Dartmouth Inn, where there will be opening speeches from CN Lester, Jacq Applebee and Proud2Be founders Mat and Jon Price. They will then, together with award winning Samba ROC Band and an 8ft willow peacock, lead a procession up Fore Street and High Street to the Totnes Civic Hall at 11.30am.

Community bus service Bob the Bus will be running a park and ride service from 10am at KEVICC, and will also be transporting those with mobility issues up the procession at 11.15am.

It is at the Civic Hall from midday where visitors can enjoy workshops and talks along with a variety of community stands including: Dot’s Cafe, a craft area, a family area, face painting, Loz’s clay room, an LGBT+ library and much more.

There will be a panel discussion at 1.15pm at The Barrel House Ballroom, where CN and Jacq will join local activists, to discuss the topic of gender. The fun continues into the evening at Totnes Pride After Party from 7.30pm at The Royal Seven Stars Ballroom, which will feature live music from popular Disco Funk band Golddust, Rococo Chanel and DJ sets from Madame Souza & Rhi Rhi Rhythm.

Entry to the daytime events at Totnes Civic Hall and The Barrel House is just £2 for adults, £1 for 11-18 year olds, and is free to those under 11.

Tickets to the After Party are £10.00 (18 and over only) and are available to purchase from Totnes Pride day event and on the door.

Jon and Mat Price
Jon and Mat Price

Proud2Be founders Jon and Mat Price, said; “We are so excited about this year’s Pride; we have been working hard to ensure that Totnes Pride is a community event we can all be proud of. We are thrilled with the support we have received from the local community, in particular Totnes Town Council. For us Totnes Pride is a chance for the whole community to come together and celebrate diversity in our town and to also raise awareness about the issues still faced by the LGBTQ+ communities, in the UK and around the world.”

To mark the event Totnes Town Council will raise the rainbow flag over Totnes Civic Hall for the week of this year’s Totnes Pride, as a sign of solidarity and support for the LGBTQ+ communities of Totnes and beyond. The flag raising ceremony will take place on Monday, August 31, 2015 at 6.30pm and everyone is invited to attend.

Totnes Mayor, Councillor Jacqi Hodgson who will open the event, said: “Raising the flag to celebrate diversity highlights the diversity in our community in Totnes.  As Mayor I am really proud of the wide mix of people in this wonderful town and delighted that we have come together to celebrate the LGBT communities and the Proud2Be group who work hard to raise awareness of LGBT issues.”

How to get involved:

Proud2Be are looking for volunteers to help out on Saturday, September 5. If you would like to get involved email Julie & Dot at

If you are an organisation or community group and would like to participate in the procession, click here:

To find out more about these exciting events or to buy a rainbow flag, click here:

Or email: