THOUSANDS lined the streets in a sea of colour, flags and bubbles as Bournemouth celebrated Pride this weekend. 

Bournemouth hosted the popular Bourne Free festival on Saturday, seeing members of the public weave through the streets before partying in the park.

This year’s celebrations see a return to Meyrick Park after years of the event being hosted from the Triangle.

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Councillor David Kelsey, who took part in Saturday’s parade, said: “For the last 15 years we’ve been in the Triangle. To come back to Meyrick Park is amazing.

“We’re in 2022 now and a lot of people still can’t come out, so being able to walk through the town centre like this is fantastic for everyone concerned.”

Set up in 2004 by members of the LGBTQ+ community, the event is held to celebrate and promote equality, and the town’s rich diversity.

Saturday began with the walking rainbow Parade, with crowds seen setting off from the Triangle shortly around 11am.

The parade followed a route through the town before arriving at Meyrick Park, where the party continued.

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Teachers, Gareth and Hannah, were two to get involved with the celebrations. Gareth said: “As teachers, we see how important this is for young kids. It’s amazing they get to grow up with this kind of thing happening more and more.”

Hannah added: “Kids are so much more tolerant now than when we were in school. They are so tolerant of sexuality and what gender you want to be; they just do not care. In my experience- it’s usually the adults that care.”

Another party goer, James, agreed that the Pride event was great for the town, but said the community still faces its challenges. He said: “I think we have to remember how far we’ve come with gay rights, but also how far we still to go.

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“While gay and lesbian people in this country do now have a lot of the same rights as straight couples do, there is still some distance to go.”

For some, and due to last two events cancelled, the Pride celebrations were a new experience. One visitor, Hannah, said: “I’ve only been out for three years so I haven’t managed to make it to one until now.”