04:14PM, Wednesday 27 July 2022
Burnham’s first ever Pride event was held on Saturday at the village’s branch of the Royal British Legion.
More than 70 guests attended the inaugural event, transforming the Gore Road venue with music, dance, theatre, and the gathering together of a community.
Headlining the eight-hour celebration was Homoparody. which previously performed at London’s 50th Pride celebration, and earlier that morning its director David Allwood was mentioned live on BBC Radio 1.
Burnham Pride was born out of a need to bring representation to the village and to emulate the success of events in nearby towns such as Reading.
Organiser Ellis Brickley, the Legion’s club secretary responsible for entertainment and events, took on the idea herself.
“There was literally nothing about in the area to celebrate and acknowledge the LGBTQIA+ community so I thought ‘why don’t I do something here?’,” she said.
“We have members from all different walks of life, and with the Legion’s new diversity initiative we wanted to pave the way forward.”
Ellis said that Burnham Pride was a ‘fantastic community day’ and was not only the first of its kind in Buckinghamshire but it could be the first of the national organisation’s 2,500 branches to dedicate a day to Pride.
“They’re really interested in what we’re doing and we might even feature in the members’ magazine,” she reported.
Backing for the day, which also saw performances from a drag queen, a 90s revival band and dances from the Creative Academy, came from Burnham Parish Council and the Beeches Community Board, which helped with funding towards entertainment costs.
“It was so nice that they could get behind us,” added Ellis, who as well as bringing members of the Legion, members of the public and the councillors together also brought local organisations together to spread their messages.
“I took lots of advice from friends on how to organise things and I wanted to make sure all the important charities were there on the day, so we had: The Beaumont Society, The Terrance Higgins Trust and an amazing charity called Support U, from Reading.”
To mark the occasion, Burnham Parish Council raised the rainbow flag outside of Burnham Park Hall and deputy council chair, Cllr Carol Linton, attended the day with her husband.
She said it was ‘a friendly and fun’ event ‘with lots of laughs.’
“I hope the organisers can repeat it next year as we will come again,” she promised.
Thanking Ellis for her efforts was George Kirkham, principal director of the Creative Academy, who provided dancers to appear alongside Homoparody.
George said: “It was a brilliant day celebrating the diversity and richness of the local community.
“Ellis and her team excelled and began a marvellous tradition.
“The students and staff are looking forward to working with British Legion again.”
Ellis confirmed that Pride is here to stay in Burnham.
She said: “It’s been 50 years of Pride so it was definitely time to do something and we will make it an annual event from now on.
“Burnham is a tiny village and something like this will put it on the map and bring the LGBTQIA+ community to the forefont.”
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