THE sun shone and the crowds turned out to support the third Isle of Wight Pride.

It was initially feared this year's event would be cancelled due to a lack of volunteers, but a new committee was formed to ensure the event went ahead to celebrate diversity, inclusion and the Island's LGBTQ+ community.

The event was held in Ryde on Saturday. It started with a colourful parade through the town, from Queen's Road to Eastern Gardens, followed by live entertainment at Ryde Superbowl and at venues throughout the town.

Union Street was packed for the parade, and businesses and pubs flew the Pride rainbow flag to show their support.

Representatives from organisations including Southern Vectis, the Isle of Wight emergency services, Hovertravel, Sainsbury's, and Unison were among those who paraded through the town.

A Hovertravel spokesperson said: "As a company, we support Pride and value everyone who travels and works with us — it's something we should do more for on the Island."

Damien Hissey, 35, who works at Sainsbury's, said: "Pride means everything to me, it's who I am — the team at Sainsbury's in Newport have been amazing support, making me feel accepted."

Other groups, including Amnesty International, the Island's 'break-out' youth group, and the Solent Gay Men's Chorus, carried banners calling for universal acceptance for all, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Katie Yeoman, 67, from Southsea, waved the pink, white and blue transgender flag, emblazoned with the message, 'I support transgender equality.'

The Raw Samba band added a fun, carnival vibe, led by dancers who carried a Pride flag embossed with their logo.

Organisers said: "We want to thank everyone who has been involved — from our volunteers and trustees, to the local council, businesses, sponsors and other organisations.

"But most importantly, we thank you, the participants — this wouldn't be possible without all the people willing to support us."

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