A WOMAN is organising Blackburn’s first gay pride festival next summer.

Tina Walsh, 43, has contacted the council about staging Pride in the Park at Witton Park on and June 1 and 2 next year.

She is also hoping to stage a parade in the town featuring colourful floats.

Around 2,000 tickets have now gone on sale for the event featuring 80s singers including Toyah Wilcox and Hazell Dean, performers and former TV chef Rusty Lee.

Tina is organising the festival with her partner Samantha Cohen, 37, and said the response had been mostly positive.

She said: “It’s going well. A lot of people have said they are glad we are doing it locally as they can't afford to go out of town.

“I want to stage it in my home town because people have to travel to Manchester or Liverpool.

“It has gone dead in Blackburn, this is why I want a big parade and the whole hog.

“Lots of people have been emailing saying they want to be volunteers because it's the first one. I'm going to hold a meeting in Blackburn because so many people want to help out.

“I’ve never done anything like this in my life.

“There is a gay minority in Blackburn. Some people may be against it but why can't we?

“This is not just about the gay community. Thousands of straight people go to these festivals with their children.”

A drag queen, Take That and Robbie Williams tribute acts have also been booked and a fun fair could also be held.

Tina, a former cook who worked at Hill View residential children's home in Haslingden, and Samantha, a mum of four from Essex, have applied to the council to gain permission for the event.

Martin Eden, director of leisure at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “We have had a booking enquiry. As with any event, the organisers would have to first satisfy us on a wide range of requirements before an official application could be processed and approved."