THE streets of Bury were filled with colour as hundreds of people stepped out to champion inclusivity at Bury Pride 2019.

A huge crowd turned out for this year's event, which was described as "bigger and better than ever before."

The vibrant parade at lunchtime today — the first Pride event of the Manchester calendar — was led by The Mayor of Bury, with music performed by marching band Mr Wilson's Second Liners.

Bury Council leader Rishi Shori, who took part in the parade, said: "This is yet another day of which our borough can be incredibly proud.

"The atmosphere has been electric and it was great to see onlookers dancing around to the music from the Pride parade. Everyone was enjoying themselves.

"Today's event is about celebrating our LGBT+ community but it's also about celebrating the values that make our borough so special, values which say no matter who you are, what you look like, which God you pray to, or who you choose to love, you are welcome and will be treated with respect."

Dozens of people of all ages lined the streets to watch the hour-long parade as it set of from Bury Town Hall at 1pm, weaving its way through the Culture Quarter, to The Rock and Bury Market, before returning.

There were drummers, street dancers, Scottish country dancers the Gay Gordons and the PCS Samba Band, as well as various organisations represented, with people travelling from near and far to take part.

Philip Wilding, from Walmersley, who attended with his family, said: "It is great that they are hosting these kinds of events locally. It is going from strength to strength.

"I think it is important for children to have exposure to events such as this and to understand about acceptance and inclusivity."

His nine-year-old daughter Ava, a pupil at Bury Grammar School, said: "I really like the music. I also like the rainbow colours. It is a fun thing to do. We watched the parade go by, it was amazing."

Now in its third year, the overall message of the Pride event advocates positivity, inclusion and of unity.

Visitors to the celebration were also treated to a range of entertainment, including performances by headline act S-Club, Vicky Jackson's tribute to Pink, and Jo B's Kids.

Young stars from local companies including Pauline Quirke Academy and Freak Dance also took to the stage today.

About 25 members of staff from the LGBT+ Allies Network at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue (GMFRS) attended the event.

Jax Effiong, Assistant Chief Fire Officer and chairwoman of the GMFRS network, said: "This has been the best Pride ever. I have been doing it for the past four years. It was absolutely fantastic.

"The turnout is amazing. It is so diverse — you have Rainbow Noir here, transgender communities, right across the board. Bury has given everyone a really warm welcome.

"I am very proud to be here today."

She added: "Our priority is to show inclusivity and to tell our communities that we want everyone to be safe. We want to be accessible to everyone across the city and we do that by showing inclusivity."

The festivities will continue tomorrow, when a colourful addition to this year's event will take centre stage. The new Rainbow Train steam engine will travel from Bury to Rawtenstall and back on Sunday, with live entertainment from Jess Kemp and Miss Vivienne Lynsey, and other special guests.