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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Section 28 was only repealed 15 years ago.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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July 6, 2018 0

Welcome to this first blog from the Happy Valley Pride Youth Engagement Committee!

David Kennedy and Sean Pert look back at the last few weeks, getting local children and young people involved in the festival through art.

David and I have been busy talking to local schools about Happy Valley Pride and this year’s theme of ‘Revolution!’

Video

We developed a presentation telling everyone about our theme and what the competition involves.
Watch the video here: Video about Happy Valley Pride’s Art Competition 2018

Riverside Junior School

Our first stop on Monday 18th June was Riverside Junior School, Hebden Bridge. Mrs Taylor introduced us to the children and we talked about how to get over the message of LGBT+ people being part of the community and everyone living in harmony. Some comments from the children were “Art is a language” and “Revolution is a big change”. Several children were able to tell us about LGBT+ people they were related to, and knew, and they wanted us to know that Mrs Taylor was “Good at helping with Art”.
We can’t wait to present the winners with their certificates on Thursday 19th July!

Art is a language

Todmorden High School

Next stop was Todmorden High School on Wednesday 27th June. We were lucky enough to view some of the pupils’ work in the gallery before meeting one of the classes. Mr Freeman, Head of Art led a fascinating discussion of art and how this might be used to convey equality. Some of the young people were shocked to hear that LGBT+ people might still encounter prejudice and discrimination. A spray painting display of revolutionary themed flags is to be expected!

Have you ever experienced discrimination because you’re gay?

Central Street Infant and Nursery School

It’s never too early to think about equality and that we are all different in some ways and the same in many others. At Central Street Infant and Nursery School our very own much loved volunteer Ms Tregellas is one of the school’s teachers and the children will be making colourful and attractive designs and pictures as part of the competition.

The festival display

The flags decorated by local children and young people will form part of the display at the Expo on Saturday 11th August 2018. The flags and banners can also be seen at the Picnic in the Park on Sunday 12th August 2018. See the programme for details.

Join in the fun

Are you a school in the Calder Valley keen to get your pupils’ artistic skills shine? We are keen to involve children and young people in Happy Valley Pride to show what a vibrant, welcoming and fun place the valley is to live. We run an annual art competition as part of the festival and our in-house artist David Kennedy is available to come along and talk about how art transformed homophobic graffiti into a work of art spreading love and acceptance.

We have an Enhanced DBS and can help your school with thinking about preventing bullying and promoting the acceptance and understanding of diversity.

Get in touch!


Leigh Bowery by Paul Macdonald
Metamorphosis by Moira Blackburn
Tall Show Girl by Paul Omerod
Peter Tatchell by M A King
Rainbow Bird - Linda Spiteri
Boy George - John Klerk
Francis Bacon by Christopher Furminger
Dusty Springfield by M A King

August 20, 2017 0

The Happy Valley Pride Art Exhibition presents contributions from local and national artists’ interpretations of the LGBTQ heroes that have inspired them for their contribution to LGBTQ/civil rights and causes.

Artwork is on display at Nelsons Wine Bar in Hebden Bridge until 6 September and all artists have generously donated a percentage of the sale price to the Happy Valley Pride fund.

The exhibition also includes all 9 of our LGBT Festival Heroes designed and signed by Emma Charleston as  A4 sized giclee printed and framed at just £40.

Please do visit to see the full range of fabulous works ranging from £40 to £300

Full Price List


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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