VIDEO: Worthing Pride lineup is announced

Things are about to get more fabulous in Worthing, as the lineup has been announced for the town's first-ever gay pride event.

Friday, 16th February 2018, 3:27 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:25 am
Worthing Pride organisers with drag host Spice and singer Miss Disney at the launch event, held at The Libertine in Portland Road, Worthing

A walking parade along the seafront, culminating in an afternoon of live entertainment at Beach House Grounds in Brighton Road, will take place on July 14. Click here to read more.But now, organisers have shed some light on the line-up: and who needs Britney?

It includes local DJs, singers, and drag acts, with top billing going to tribute act ABBA Magic.

Claire Fuller from Lewes is a DJ at Legends nightclub in Brighton and put together the lineup. She will also be doing a set before ABBA Magic closes the show. She said she was 'so excited' to be part of Worthing's first pride, and that it was still important for pride events to take place in today's society. She said: "People need educating, people need awareness, and people need to see we should be accepted for who we are. We are just normal people; the gay label shouldn't be branded the way it is."

Worthing Pride organisers with drag host Spice and singer Miss Disney at the launch event, held at The Libertine in Portland Road, Worthing

Hostess for the afternoon will be popular Brighton-based drag queen Spice, who will be strutting their stuff from 2pm to 10pm, when the live entertainment takes place. And standing at a whopping 6ft 11ins in heels - and not including added wig height - you will not be able to miss them.

Known to friends as Aaron Lawrence, the bearded performer has performed in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and at Brighton Fringe, and described his persona as a 'gender discombobulator'. He said: "I am so excited Claire asked me to do it. I thought she would ask me to do a half hour set.

"It is brilliant because it's the first one. If I don't mess it up I might get to do it again next year!"

The news was announced at a launch night held at The Libertine in Portland Road in Worthing where the pride after-party will take place, and where Spice gave attendees a preview of ABBA Magic with 'Money Money Money' and gave Barry Manilow a run for his money with 'Copacabana'.

The line-up at Worthing Pride this year

Miss Disney, who regularly performs at Bar Broadway in Steine Street, Brighton, will also be performing at Worthing Pride, and lived up to her name at the launch by singing 'Part of Your World' from The Little Mermaid and The Lion King classic 'Circle of Life'.

When she is not belting out Disney standards, Maria Gardner works at a contact centre and lives with her girlfriend and two cats in Hove. For her, pride meant togetherness and knowing who you are. She said: "I know what it feels like to not know who I am, so now I spread love through Disney for those people who might not feel like they have that love."

Earlier in the evening, pride co-organiser Josie Kelly explained why pride events are important in a powerful speech.

She thanked the main sponsor, The Cow Shed in Marine Parade, Worthing, and Leaders estate agents in Worthing, which is also sponsoring the event. The committee has to raise £20,000 for the event to happen. Josie called for others to help out: "If you are interested in sponsoring us or helping out, or if you are a local business and you want to put on a Worthing Pride event, our aim is to get the whole of the Worthing community together and show that we are proud, so please join us."

Claire Steer, assistant manager of The Cow Shed, was keen to get on board as she is gay. She said: "Worthing is such an up-and-coming town, so a big event like this will bring so many people to the area and shows our diversity.

"It is all about celebrating together, rather than being an isolated community."

Pride will also be supporting local charities Coastal West Sussex Mind, which offers mental health services and challenges discrimination, and the Allsorts Youth Project, a Brighton-based charity which empowers young people under 26 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or unsure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Katie Vincent, business and media manager for Allsorts Youth Project, said they were expanding into West Sussex and support from Worthing Pride would help fund this. She said: "We are delighted we have been chosen because funding is very hard to come by, especially for LGBT young people, who seem to get forgotten about."

The pride plans got the public's seal of approval. Les Poplawski, senior health and safety officer at Guild Care, said: "I have quite a few friends in Brighton, and they want to come here for pride instead." Tommy Wales, 30, from Worthing, said: "I can't for everyone to come together to dance, have fun and accept everyone for who they are."