Manchester Pride: Thousands line streets for 'Graduation Parade'

Manchester Pride Image copyright Manchester Pride
Image caption Education was the focus of this year's Manchester Pride parade

Thousands of people have turned out for Manchester's annual Pride parade.

The four-day festival, now in its 25th year, celebrates the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The procession of about 100 colourful floats started on Liverpool Road at 12:30 BST and finished next to Manchester's Gay Village.

Organisers said this year's theme was Class of 2017: The Graduation Parade, focussing on the importance of education in ending inequality.

More than 3,000 flamboyantly-dressed participants climbed on floats and are paraded through the city.

Image caption Participants were in high spirits as they marched down Deansgate
Image caption Many dressed in brightly coloured outfits to take part in the parade
Image copyright Manchester Pride/TheVainPhotography
Image caption Coronation Street's float included the hashtag #BeMoreMartyn in memory of Martyn Hett

This year's Coronation Street float pays tribute to the soap's super fan Martyn Hett who was among the 22 killed in the Manchester Arena bombing.

The float included the hashtag #BeMoreMartyn.

Martyn's family and friends also took part, wearing T-shirts remembering him.

His partner, Russell Hayward said: "Martyn took me to my first Pride many years ago. He loved it every year. It was his Christmas.

"To me [#BeMoreMartyn] means...take something positive from him, whether it is to wear a garish top you wouldn't usually have the guts to wear, go on holiday somewhere, just enjoy your life and live every minute."

The parade headed to Deansgate after departing from Liverpool Road, then Peter Street, Oxford Street, Portland Street and Princess Street.

The procession then turned on to Whitworth Street ending up on Fairfield Street.

Image caption Organisers say the parade turns the city into a kaleidoscope of colour

Mark Fletcher, CEO of Manchester Pride said the atmosphere was "electric".

"What is brilliant about days like today is we have tens of thousands of people coming out to support LGBT people, but not only that but to show their alliance, to stand in unity and be proud of Manchester as it is," he added.

Image caption Cheerleaders and graduates skip down the streets of Manchester which are lined by crowds
Image copyright Manchester Pride/TheVainPhotography
Image caption The weather stayed fine for the parade

The Manchester Pride Big Weekend began on Friday with performances from former Spice Girl Melanie C and Pixie Lott.

Take That are due to appear on Monday.

Image copyright Manchester Pride/TheVainPhotography
Image caption About 3000 people took part in the parade
Image copyright Manchester Pride/TheVainPhotos
Image caption Thousands turned out to watch the parade

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