SOUTH Ribble Borough Council has today raised the Rainbow Flag above the Civic Centre.

To coincide with Preston Pride, which takes place this weekend (Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 September), the council raised the flag at 10:00am this morning.

Among the dignitaries who attended the flag-raising ceremony were Councillor Harry Hancock, Mayor of South Ribble; Councillor David Borrow, Mayor of Preston; and Leah Emerson from Lancashire LGBT.

South Ribble Borough Council was delighted that the Mayor of Preston could attend. Not only was he the MP for South Ribble between 1997 and 2010; he was also the first ever MP to enter into a civil partnership when he married his partner John in 2006.

Councillor Borrow has been openly gay since 1998 and in coming out, prompted other MPs to do the same. He is a pioneering figure of the LBGT+ movement.

Councillor Jacky Alty, Equalities Champion at South Ribble Borough Council, said: “I am thrilled that we have decided to fly the Rainbow Flag this year – a precedent which I hope continues for decades to come.

“I am so glad that we were joined by the Mayor of Preston – someone who, for decades now, has been proud of his sexuality and identity and has never been afraid to show it.

“For us in South Ribble, the courage he showed at a time when civil partnerships hadn’t even come in yet is a great inspiration. David was the first MP to enter into a civil partnership so in terms of the history of British politics and how it introduced legislation for LGBT+ rights, you can’t get any more significant or defining than David Borrow.

“Everyone deserves equality, love and respect and we stand with the LGBT+ community today and across this wonderful weekend of celebration.

“I am proud of what the council is doing to honour and respect diversity and equality, and I will continue to be a strong advocate and passionate voice in South Ribble for these causes.”

Councillor Aniela Bylinksi Gelder, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, Social Justice and Wealth Building, said: “I completely support this fantastic showing of solidarity and togetherness with the LGBT+ community who are such an important part of our nation’s identity, culture and voice around the world.

“I am delighted that we are flying the Rainbow Flag and I will be encouraging my local residents, family and friends to attend the fabulous activities taking place in Preston at the weekend.”

For more information about Preston Pride, go to prestonpride.com/event-2019 or follow the weekend’s celebrations on Twitter at twitter.com/PrestonPrideUK.