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February 4, 2019 2

As part of LGBT History month 2019, we’re sharing personal stories of significant, life-changing moments of acceptance or understanding from our local LGBT+ community.

“Shall not promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

Local Government Act, 1988 – Prohibition on promoting homosexuality by teaching or by publishing material.
Chris Park

 Put yourself in the place of a 13 year old in the Lake District in 1988. The world was in the midst of the AIDS crisis and homophobic articles were common in the national press.

I was the 13 year old that Mrs Thatcher was trying to “protect”. Sadly for her it had the opposite effect.

 Gay rights didn’t make it to the Lakes, so TV was the only connection to the outside world. Bringing this revolting clause presented a call to arms, organisations like Stonewall appeared and words Gay and Pride were bandied around. I’d always known I was different but now I wasn’t alone.

It couldn’t have been a better signpost for me, if Margaret T thought homosexuality was wrong, it must be right. 

That isn’t to say I had an easy time of it. The 80s were dark and by bringing homophobia to the masses, we all copped it one way or another. 

Section 28 was only repealed 15 years ago. We need to remember that our previous Prime Minister was incredibly vocal in keeping it until he did a U-turn in 2009. Our current “leader” has consistently voted against LGBT rights. 

As for Section 28, we should never forget or we will allow prejudice like this to thrive again. As for its effectiveness, sorry Mrs T, but this gay wasn’t for turning. 


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January 25, 2019 0

Happy Valley Pride is an eclectic, alternative and inclusive, week-long festival for everyone. Celebrating LGBT+ life in Hebden Bridge and surrounding areas.  This year, it will be taking place earlier than in previous years, during the week of 22 to 28 July 2019.

Founded in 2015, the festival has rapidly grown in size and stature – last year we attracted over 3,000 attendees across 15 events and 7 days. Set in the stunning location of the Calder Valley (recently recognised in National Geographic’s Cool List 2019) we’ve built an enviable reputation for creating a distinctive, LGBT+ arts-focused programme.

The decision to move the festival was taken to guarantee the calibre of artists and performers now expected of Happy Valley Pride, as the previous dates were close to other key festivals, notably Edinburgh Festival.

Our Chair and Festival Programmer, Tim Whitehead:

“In the last couple of years, we have managed to attract an incredibly diverse and reputable range of artists. Camille O’Sullivan (recently voted in the Top 25 Jools Holland’s performances) headlined last year, due to an unusual change in schedule. In 2016, BBC Radio 4 regular, Zoe Lyons was another coup and a total sell out. We were aware of other artists we’d loved to welcome to Happy Valley Pride, yet missed out simply because they were booked for Edinburgh. We’re now planning a superb week, which we’re excited will offer something special for everyone and offer our best Pride yet.

At the heart of this, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to to the local community and businesses who have supported us in funding the festival, such as local artist, Kate Lycett, whose unique artwork donation attracted national interest via our art auction.”

Which brings us on to the first confirmed event for 2019 – the auspicious return of legendary London-club night, Duckie. Having lured them to Yorkshire from their Vauxhall Tavern residency – last year’s inaugural visit to The Trades Club sold out in 48hrs post-announcement. Its cult cabaret line up of renowned performance artists is bound to guarantee Happy Valley Pride will stand above the Pride crowd.

With a growing Committee of volunteer trustees and loyal festival team, we’ve quickly built a strong reputation and year-round profile via social nights, community involvement and regular Trades’ Club fundraiser nights. Working alongside local schools and other community groups, we seek to raise understanding and acceptance of the LGBT+ community via art projects.

With plenty still to do, those interested in getting involved please visit the ‘Get Involved‘ page for more info.

Camille O’Sullivan performed at Hope Baptist Church for Happy Valley Pride 2018

Kate Lycett’s – Tree of Life which raised funds via our art exhibition and auction in  2018


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June 7, 2018 6
Happy Valley Pride are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help with our festival.  The dates for this year’s festival are 22nd to 28th July 2019.
As a volunteer, you’ll be an important part of the team who will be helping pull together a variety of events happening during the course of the week, with all hands on deck over the main weekend of 27th and 28th July.
If you feel you’d enjoy making a difference and have skills you think we’d welcome to help us pull this thing off or the enthusiasm to want to learn and get stuck in, get in touch.
We can discuss how much or little volunteering your time and energy allows.
If you are passionate about the LGBT+ community and want to help us make a difference, we would love for you to become part of the team.

APPLY NOW


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June 5, 2017 0

In only its second year, Happy Valley Pride have organised an ambitious, week-long festival of diversity, inclusivity and awareness for everyone – celebrating LGBTQ+ life in Hebden Bridge and surrounding areas.

Unified with an LGBTQ+ Heroes theme, the festival aims to provide a spectrum of exciting, inclusive events, bringing together nationally renowned and local artistes. Confirmed so far, but with more to come:

  • Established, gay comedian, Zoe Lyons, brings her full length stand-up show on Wednesday 9th to The Trades Club. Zoe will be familiar to many from her regular appearances on TV and radio shows, such as Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo.
  • An evening performance at Little Theatre on Friday, 11th August from award-winning, musical satirists, Bourgeois & Maurice – recently described by The Guardian as “Modern Day Music Hall stars”. The demented duo promise to deliver riotously funny, original songs, with style as sharp as their wit.
  • A cram-packed weekend, centred within a family-friendly, ‘Holme Street Hub’, will provide a host of local musicians and street entertainment during Saturday daytime.  Riverside Junior School will also have an exhibition of pupils’ winning ‘Heroes’ artwork, alongside information stalls. Talks from a thought-provoking mix of LGBTQ+ speakers, including Jeremy Pemberton and Flo Krause; complementing the return (for a second year) of human rights activist, Peter Tatchell.  Whilst Saturday night, Trades Club hosts Honeyfeet and The Bright Black, both Manchester bands with a reputation for their exuberant live performances.
  • Winding down the week, Sunday offers something for everyone – a church service at St James’ Church, Hebden Bridge; ‘Up the Buttress’ walk led by Peter Tatchell. All culminating in a Pink Picnic, incorporating a chance to enter your pet in the Pooch Parade being held in Calder Holmes Park.

Mike Stephens, Chair said “The incredible community and business support we’ve received in the past 12 months has enabled us to grow the festival and embrace our LGBTQ+ community.  As a small and entirely volunteer-organised festival, support from Hebden Royd Town Council and local businesses, including Yorkshire Soap, has helped make this year’s festival possible. We’re extremely excited and thrilled with this year’s expanded programme and look forward to hosting our wonderful guests and performers”.

BE HERE, BE YOU, BE PROUD