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Bench at St James' Retail and Leisure Park for first Dover Pride

A bench to celebrate Dover's first Pride event has been installed.

It will be at the St James' Retail and Leisure Park in Dover in time for today's parade.

By then an eye-catching vinyl will be also be in place between Cineworld, a sponsor of the event, and the Nando's restaurant.

The new bench with, from top to bottom, left to right:, Geoffrey Hobbs-East, facilities manager at St James', Lisa Oulton,director of Future Foundry,Sarah Dimech of Future Foundry, and Pride organisersFrazer Doyle andEmma Brimson.Picture: Dover St James'
The new bench with, from top to bottom, left to right:, Geoffrey Hobbs-East, facilities manager at St James', Lisa Oulton,director of Future Foundry,Sarah Dimech of Future Foundry, and Pride organisersFrazer Doyle andEmma Brimson.Picture: Dover St James'

Both will be permanent additions to the site and are to highlight St James' support for all LGBTQ+ communities.

Shoppers will be encouraged to have their photo taken with the bench and vinyl.

They can then share it with the hashtag #MoreThanAParade across social media to show their support for Dover Pride.

The event starts at 11am with a march from Market Square to Dover Town Hall with people in costumes carrying flags and banners.

Afterwards there will be music and other attractions at the Town Hall and the whole event ends at 9.30pm.

The parade was initiated by Frazer Doyle, 28, and Emma Brimson, 32, and have been joined by Sarah Dimech, 28.

They have also been supported in the organising by entertainment co-ordinator Gwen Ever and Lisa Oulton, director of Future Foundry.

This is a company that helps young people get into business.

The new Pride bench at St James'. Picture: St James' Dover
The new Pride bench at St James'. Picture: St James' Dover

Geoffrey Hobbs-East, St James Dover’s facilities manager, said: “This weekend marks a historic moment for our town and St James Dover is proud to be able to visibly show its support for this inaugural Pride event.

“Frazer, Emma and the rest of the Dover team have done a fantastic job putting together this celebration and there has been an incredible reaction to it."

Ms Brimson said: “Words cannot describe the how much we appreciate all the people that have been involved to make this event happen.

"Dover has been behind us all the way and we hope we give both the LGBTQ+ community and the wider community an event to be proud of.”

Dover Town Council also agreed to support Pride last month by offering a £1,500 grant.

Towns such as Margate and Canterbury already have established Pride events.

They were originally called Gay Pride but the named was altered to cover all LGBTQ+people.

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