The rainbow civic launch of Croydon’s LGBT month

By - Thursday 15th February, 2018

A variety of performances kick off Croydon’s diversity celebrations in the presence of the mayor and Croydon Central’s MP

Paula Goodwin at the launch.
Photo author’s own.

Croydon’s month of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) celebration and awareness opened on Thursday 1st February at 5pm in the Braithwaite Hall, Katharine Street, in the presence of the Mayor of Croydon, councillor Toni Letts.

After short speeches from the mayor and the council leader, the audience was entertained by music from local performers, including choir leaders Katie Rose and Sarah Fisher, who finished their four-song set with a moving rendition of Labi Siffre’s ‘Something Inside So Strong’, which he had written about his experience as a gay man, Croydon jazz diva Gill Manly, LGBT cabaret artist Mark Bunyan, and the Rainbows Across Borders chorus.

Left to right: council leader Tony Newman, Mayor Toni Letts, Sarah Jones MP, and David Page, chair of the Croydon Area Gay Society, enjoy the event.
Photo author’s own.

Following a short speech from Croydon Central MP Sarah Jones, local activist and community leader Catherine Pestano led the audience in LGBT-related community singing. Paula Goodwin, chair of the Croydon Pride Steering Group, talked what is planned for this summer’s Pridefest, which will be held for the first time in Wandle Park, and there were songs from Ryan Mullen, a member of The Bridge, Croydon’s LGBT youth group, and Benjamin Ward, a student at Croydon College. It was most encouraging to see these young people actively involved.

They were followed by veteran cabaret artist Mark Bunyan, who gave us a poignant portrayal of some of the difficult realities of gay life, both in times past and continuing into the present day. The mayor then presented a certificate of appreciation to Ross Burgess for his work over many years in setting up and maintaining websites for a number of Croydon’s LGBT groups, and the event closed with a performance from the Croydon based Rainbows Across Borders singers, a self-help group for LGBT asylum seekers. It seemed a most fitting way to close the show.

Peter Blackburn

Peter Blackburn

Originally from the West Midlands, Peter moved to Croydon twenty years ago, and prior to his retirement in 2010 worked as a sales administrator. He now lives in Shirley.

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