Dodgy weather, the absence of a parade and the ongoing pandemic couldn't put a dampener on the first Swindon and Wiltshire Pride event since 2019 as hundreds covered themselves in glitter and rainbows and headed to The Old Town Gardens to celebrate.

It was touch and go as to whether or not this year's Pride could take place with changing rules and regulations concerning the coronavirus pandemic, but the small committee of people responsible for organising it worked overtime to get it ready for this weekend.

"Not being able to have a Pride event last year was very disheartening," said Swindon and Wiltshire Pride Committee member Sam Bates

"Obviously, we all all understand why that was, but Pride is so important for so many people, the community has felt disconnected and we've been unable to celebrate who we are."

"But this year is incredible. It's been amazing to see so many people wearing rainbows., families with young children, old couples and groups of friends all being open and being themselves. It's just the best feeling, everyone feeling pride."

The event may have been back for the first time since 2019, but there was a big part missing. Swindon and Wiltshire Pride Chair Jo Wilson addressed the difficult decision not to have the parade this year

"The parade will be back next year. We made the decision to concentrate on putting on a safe event here at the park and focus all our people power here. We cut some things because of social distancing measures and we added some things, like the family circus area."

There were two stages of musical acts featuring fabulous drag queens, local talent and the headline acts were Veronica Green Ru Paul's Drag Race fame and Christmas number one legends, East 17, who got a huge reaction from the hundreds that had stayed well into the evening.

It was fully inclusive with sign language interpretors signing along to every act, a changing places facility on site and extremely helpful and attentive stewards.

Safety was also a big concern for the organisers with all attendees temperature checked on the way in and a layout that allowed for as much social distancing as possible.

Unfortunately the sun didn't shine all the way through the day as the typically confusion British weather reared its ugly head. But for people desperate to reconnect again after so long apart this didn't matter at all. As one committee member Gareth said, 'you can't have a rainbow without rain!'