Two hundred leading figures from the worlds of business, showbiz and politics got together with LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) activists to raise money for the reborn Pride in London at a Gala Dinner at Claridge’s in London on Tuesday night where Mayor of London Boris Johnson was guest of honour. Boris later apologised for a joke that did not go down too well with elements of the audience.
He said in his speech:
“I’m delighted that as of this autumn any young man will be able to take his chum up the Arsenal… and marry him.”
Coronation Street’s Charlie Condou, the BBC’s Jane Hill and Christopher Biggins were joined by coalition government ministers, opposition spokespeople, the corporate sponsors of Pride in London and prominent LGBT activists to celebrate Pride’s theme of Love (and Marriage) and raise funds to support to event in future years. Local MPs Justine Greening, Vince Cable and Mike Freer all attended.
The major events of Pride in London are free and to keep them that way organisers need to raise at least £450,000 each year. The Gala Dinner helped to fund this year’s events and helped build the organisation’s strength for the future.
The Gala was hosted by broadcaster Alice Arnold and attended by a number of high-profile LGBT stars. It was sponsored by law firm Baker & McKenzie and bank Citi.
During a champagne reception before dinner guests were entertained by the Pink Singers, a leading LGBT choir that is celebrating its 30th anniversary, having been created to perform at Pride in 1982.
A prize draw included items donated by Sir Elton John, Chelsea Football Club, Alan Carr, celebrity hairdresser Paul Edmonds, the TF Willetts Foundation and Summer Rites.
Commenting on the evening, host Alice Arnold said:
“It’s a delight to host such a high-powered and glamorous event that really shows the depth of support that there is for Pride in London. The many events this year really do offer something for everyone and that’s only possible with the whole-hearted backing of the LGBT community itself and the financial support of generous sponsors and individual donors. London is an amazing city that is now getting the amazing Pride celebration it deserves.”
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson, said: ‘
“I am delighted to be supporting the celebrations and pleased with how well plans have been going to make this year’s event a success. The efforts of the individuals behind this year’s event are a fine example of volunteering in action – the Team London spirit! I am also pleased that the Pride team have been able to secure sponsors for the festivities – I hope it will encourage others to come forward, to help build the celebrations in future years. We want to see Pride grow!”
Chairman of Pride in London, Michael Salter, concluded:
“Tonight’s event is not only a vital fundraiser but also a way to thank our many generous sponsors as well as some of the key volunteers who have given so much of themselves to put together a brilliant Pride festival for 2013 in such a very short time. We are honoured by the support we have been given by leading politicians, hugely successful businesses and community activists.”
The Gala Dinner is just one of a many events happening to mark Pride in London this week, culminating with the Parade through the heart of London on Saturday, June 29.
The Pride in London Festival 2013 includes:
- An Audience with Martina Navratilova hosted by Clare Balding
- The inaugural gala dinner with Boris Johnson at Claridge’s
- The Summer Rites Pride in the Park music festival in Shoreditch Park
- A parade along Oxford Street and down Regent Street to Trafalgar Square
- Entertainment and speeches on the main stage in Trafalgar Square
- Street parties in Soho, including music and cabaret stages
- UK Black Pride in Golden Square
- VIP nights at the of Book of Mormon
- ‘Out at the cinema’ screenings at the British Film Institute
- Film screenings hosted by Channel 4
For more information about the Pride events, CLICK HERE: