New Pride festival set to be staged in Northumberland

From left: Darren Irvine, Lorna Stewart-Hook and Sophie Robinson.
From left: Darren Irvine, Lorna Stewart-Hook and Sophie Robinson.

Plans are being drawn up for Northumberland to have its own lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) festival, with the aim of staging the first event next year.

On Tuesday night, a Northumberland Pride committee was set up, to take forward the idea of establishing an annual event in the county.

The festival is the brainchild of Lorna Stewart-Hook, who is married to her partner Carmelle and works at HMP Northumberland.

Last month, Lorna told the Gazette that she would love to see Northumberland stage its own Pride event, having attended the successful and popular Northern Pride festival in Newcastle. And after we published the article, Lorna received a lot of positive feedback.

Now, the wheels have been set in motion for Northumberland’s first Pride festival.

Lorna said: “Due to the overwhelming support I received following the Gazette article, I was contacted by numerous local people who all had the same goal – to put Northumberland on the LGBT map.

“On Tuesday, we held a meeting and decided that a Pride committee would be officially formed with the view to holding Northumberland’s very first Pride next year.”

Lorna, founder of the Northumberland LGBT Network group on Facebook, will be chairman, while Sophie Robinson, acting chairman for Be:Northumberland and a Trans activist in Unison, will be the vice-chairman. Darren Irvine, former Northern Pride committee member, will be treasurer.

Lorna added: “Northumberland is a very diverse county and we want to embrace this. We wish to show support for the large LGBT community, celebrate how far we have come, but also highlight the battles that are still faced today with outdated views and beliefs still displayed.”