RAINBOW flags and banners were held high in the air as a town celebrated its first ever pride event.

An entourage of drag queens and their supporters paraded around the streets of Accrington town centre on Saturday afternoon as many turned out to support the event.

The parade, which started on the town square and ended at the Railway Pub on Blackburn Road, attracted support from shoppers and bystanders, as the group made its way to the venue.

Once inside the entertainment began, with dancing, games, karaoke and cabaret.

Organiser Mark Everleigh, who is also known by drag queen name Melaina Chache, said the event was a roaring success, adding that he will be working hard to make it even bigger next year.

He said: “People came from all over to see what the event was all about - and they loved it.

“We had a fantastic time and it was all really well received. There was no hassle, no hatred, everybody just got along and had a fabulous day. The environment that was created inside the Railway was really something to be proud of.”

Speaking about next year he said: “We are really hoping that the council will get behind us and give us some support.

“We’d like a stage outside of the town hall and we’d like to get more bars and businesses in the area involved. We’d love to turn it into more of a festival. This event is all about love, not hate.”

TheRailway’s bar manager, Billie Jo Allison, said she was proud to be part of the event.

She said: “Many find that there is not much in Accrington anymore and we wanted to put something on to give back to the local people.

“We are proud to be the first venue in the town to put something on like this and to be a big part of.

“We had a full house of people - people from all walks of life - all here to support the event and have a bit of fun. It was such a successful day, it is quite over-whelming really.”

Karen Beddow, from Accrington Pals Outdoor Cafe, said: "We have a flag out and some pride face paint on to support the event. It is the first year Accrington has had a pride event and we hope it will grow.”