No Pride celebration this year

THIS year’s Pride in Surrey celebration – set to be far bigger than the inaugural event in 2019 – has been cancelled because of the coronavirus crisis.

The parade and festivities were planned to take place in Woking town centre and on Wheatsheaf Common in Horsell on Saturday 8 August.

Amnesty at Pride – Members of the Woking Amnesty International branch, including the organisation’s UK chairman Ruth Breddal (second right), former Woking Mayor Anne Robertson (first right) and Woking Debates chairman Keith Scott (first left), at the event’s parade last year

But the organisers have announced: “We have taken the heart-breaking decision to cancel the 2020 Pride in Surrey. Given the current global pandemic, we feel that we cannot continue to plan an event to take place in August.”

Their decision follows advice from Woking Borough Council and guidelines from Public Health England.

The announcement, from co-chairmen Stephen Ireland and Charlie Watts, said that August is a long time away but planning the event involves many meetings with key services such as Surrey Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service.

Constable Ryan Williams and Superintendent Clive Davies at last year’s Pride event at Woking Park

“As you would agree, these services are needed more now than ever, to help us through this difficult time, and after to repair our nation,” the announcement added.

While many charities and non-profit organisations such as Pride in Surrey are facing huge financial uncertainty, they are certain that the LGBTQ+ community and its allies will be able to hold a successful event in 2021.

Some of Pride in Surrey’s volunteers are key workers doing their bit to keep the NHS and other services operating. Others are working with initiatives such as the York Road Project in Woking, helping support homeless people.

One of the Pride trustees is driving NHS staff to and from Royal Surrey County Hospital via a local bus service and the Surrey Heath Pride team is focusing its efforts on Surrey Heath Prepared, delivering food parcels to families in need. “During these unprecedented times, we will continue to support, promote and signpost services and groups that are still active online,” said Stephen and Charlie. “This includes Outline Surrey, which provides support to people over their sexuality and gender identity

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