Crawley Pride 2021: 'Celebrate with us and be part of Crawley history' say organisers

The organisers of the Crawley Pride are proud to be hosting the first event of its kind in the town.

And they have said they would like everyone involved and who turns up to walk away from the event ‘with historical understanding as to why Crawley needs a Pride’.

The inaugural event takes place at Goffs Park on Saturday and Sunday this weekend and will see plenty of entertainment for the whole family on both days.

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Crawley LGBTQU+ and Pride co-directors and organisers Eva Andrews, Julie McAuley-Walker, Tom and Vincent Martin, Ben Ferris

One of the organisers, Vincent Mitchell, says they cannot wait to share the hard work that’s gone into Crawley Pride.

He said: “The Crawley LGBTQU+ team are all voluntary and have worked around the clock to keep the Pride wheels turning.

“The event is so close and all are excited to share the hard work with the community in providing a safe space for everyone to be who they want to be without judgement.

“The response to Crawley’s first Pride event has been positive and supportive.”

Crawley LGBTQU+

Vincent is the managing director of Crawley LGBTQU+ and along with co-director Ben Ferris, co-director and finance manager Julie McAuley-Walker, company assistant & People of Faith leader Eva Andrews and many volunteers have been working hard for years in the build up to this weekend.

Vincent said: “This project has absolutely been a joy to develop and see through to the end. Yes, there have been challenges along the way but these fleeting moments are nothing compared to the benefits the Crawley LGBTQU+ are now seeing within the local community.

“We are proud to be giving visibility to those who have previously had to go undetected or elsewhere.

“Crawley Pride planning was started a few years ago by a small group of people. When Covid-19 put those plans on hold, the Crawley LGBTQU+ volunteers started to instigate other services such as a local LGBTQU+ helpline and a corporate training programme to encourage business inclusion and diversity.

Ru Paul's Drag Race star Cheryl Hole is one of the stars appearing at Crawley Pride

“These services will launch after Pride. The team also collaborated with other groups to develop an inclusive choir, a transgender social group, a multi-faith safe space, a local LGBTQU+ radio station and podcast.”

And Vincent can’t wait so see those flags go up at Goffs Park. He said: “The team at CrawleyLGBTQU+ cannot wait to see the Pride flags go up at Goffs Park.

“The flags will be the last thing to go up and when they do, it means the site is ready. At that moment, the volunteers will be able to share three years of hard work with a community so close to their hearts.

“Not only will the community be able to enjoy a fabulous weekend of packed entertainment and fun fair experiences, the team have arranged different interactive ways to remind and educate individuals on why this event is taking place.

“This is incredibly important to the team and we would like all participants to walk away from the event with historical understanding as to why Crawley needs a Pride.”

But what can people expect from the weekend?

“CrawleyLGBTQU+ have worked closely with local organisations to offer a range of services on the day,” said Vincent.

“We have LGBTQ+ support services, mental and sexual health services and many local businesses offering interactive fun fair, stalls, two stages and community filled entertainment throughout the weekend, there will be something at the event for everyone.

“The Sanctuary is being provided for individuals who want to attend our event and want a space to reflect away from the hustle and bustle.

“Metrobus are offering FREE shuttle rides to and from town to assist in public transportation. We also have local food vendors and refreshments.”

Crawley Pride is ticketed but the community side of the event is FREE.

Vincent said: “We have sold more tickets than we expected and predict we will have tickets available for purchase on the day. If tickets sell out, ‘on the day tickets’ will not be available. When they’re gone, they’re gone. Visit - if you are unable to purchase a ticket and still want to attend, you can. The community side of the event is free.”

And Vincent had a lot of thank yous - especially for the Crawley public. He said: “First and foremost, we would like to thank the whole community of Crawley for accepting this event with such confidence and passion.

“From those who have just shared our event online, to those who have reached out to us with messages.

“The appreciation we have received from both the LGBTQ+ community and our allies has been empowering.

“A special thank you to everyone who has given their time to help develop Crawley’s first Pride and to those volunteering on the weekend.

“Hosting Crawley Pride 2021 is a huge achievement and is something that will go down in Crawley’s history forever. Celebrate with us and be part of Crawley history.”