HUNDREDS bounced through the streets of Bournemouth for the Bourne Free Pride Festival parade and even more spectators cheered them on from packed town centre pavements with smiles on their faces.

The annual Pride procession took place on Saturday, filling the town with a dazzling display of rainbow colours.

The roadsides were heaving with people watching the spectacle as a carnival and party atmosphere took hold on the route.

Alongside the LGBTQ+ community, there were representatives from the emergency services, local schools, businesses and community groups.

The parade started on the East Cliff before moving through the town centre and up to the Triangle, with crowds more than 10 rows deep near the Square.

Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner and Bourne Free trustee, said; “I think it was our best ever year. The crowds in the Lower Gardens and on the parade watching were incredible and we were in awe really.

“If you look at the attendance in the Triangle and in the Lower Gardens it was definitely our biggest event and it was just fantastic.

“It is a great experience for everyone. To see so many families and children at the event we organised on Friday was amazing.

“We are really grateful to the people across the conurbation, as well as visitors, who came to support the event.”

Bourne Free was established in 2004 to defend and promote the local LGBTQ+ community in the face of an organised homophobic protest planned for Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens.

Last month marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, which are largely seen as a key event leading to the gay liberation movement.

Mr Underhill said Bourne Free carried an important message and would return even bigger next year.

He said: “Stonewall 50 reminds us the campaign for equality is 50 years old and we still see a lot of countries where homosexuality is illegal, with some of these countries enforcing the death penalty.

“Bourne Free Pride Festival is here to stay for as long as this remains the case.”

Alongside the procession, events took place throughout Bournemouth over the weekend.

On Friday, a mini-parade launched the festival before free family entertainment at The Triangle. The main procession on Saturday was followed by an afternoon and evening of activities and live performances.