SUNDERLAND Pride are set to put on a virtual Christmas Party after having to cancel their annual summer event due to Covid-19.
THE Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on most people, and that includes those within the LGBT+ community. A summer that should have been filled with Pride events up and down the nation ended up being an extremely quiet time for the community.
After the original Sunderland Pride event was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, organisers were concerned about the impact of being alone and unable to speak to others proving difficult for those who look forward to the two-day event each year.
So a safe but interactive online virtual event has been arranged instead, which will be accessible via YouTube and the Sunderland Pride website and will take place on Saturday (December 12).
Lynne Roxburgh, 59, CEO of Sunderland Pride, told us: “We decided to have a virtual event through Facebook and we found this was quite successful and it reached people who could not visit a Pride Event physically.
“We were planning for next year’s Pride event, watching government guidelines for updates and, as time has gone on, we had to come to the realisation, that we would not be able to have a Pride event in June next year, as it takes months of planning for road closures etc.
“So, we decided to have a Big Christmas Pride Party and stream it through YouTube and our website from Pride Media Centre in Pelaw, in which some acts will be live, some will be pre-recorded.
“The event will be managed by myself and our chairperson, who is also the entertainment manager. The social media links leading up to the day give details on how people can join the day, and we are encouraging people to put on their Christmas jumper, as we are having a Best Xmas Jumper competition.
“Last time we held the virtual Pride we had 18,000 people tune in, and we are hoping to reach a lot more this time.”
The event will be hosted by some of Sunderland’s most-loved drag queens; Ophelia, Lucy Phurr, and Miss Lucy.
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Lucy Phurr got involved with Sunderland Pride last year after hosting the full event.
She said: “It’s such an amazing full-circle moment from being at what I think was the first Sunderland Pride event in 2011 when I was only 15! It meant so much to me as that was the first Pride event I ever went to, so it was a real eye-opener to see so many people in the city who were just like me.
“This year I hosted Sunderland’s virtual Pride in the Sunderland Pride office just off High Street West, which was so amazing to see all of our community coming together to arrange one huge show. So, we thought, why not do it again?
“This time I’ll be hosting with my long-time drag sister Miss Lucy, who’s even appeared on TV, and my idol Ophelia Balls for Sunderland’s virtual winter Pride event – get it on your telly or on your phones because it’s going to be a good’un!”