Organiser 'overwhelmed' with response to plan for town's first Pride event

Bungay Castle. Photo: Nick Butcher.

Leon Bedwell, inset, has organised Bungay's first Pride Picnic at Castle Meadow. - Credit: Nick Butcher/Leon Bedwell

Bungay's first Pride event will take place later this month.

Organiser Leon Bedwell says they've been left stunned by the "overwhelming" response to a Pride picnic planned for Saturday, June 26. 

The picnic, which begins at 1pm at Castle Meadow, will celebrate Pride month, which runs throughout June, and will be the first time the town has marked the occasion.

Leon Bedwell has organised Bungay's first Pride event - the Bungay Pride Picnic.

Leon Bedwell has organised Bungay's first Pride event - the Bungay Pride Picnic. - Credit: Leon Bedwell

The 22-year-old, who was born and raised in Bungay, said: "I am finding my own identity and something that is important to me is creating a community to support people going through the same thing.

"Pride is a celebration of that feeling of otherness and making your own community.

"Bungay is a diverse and beautiful place with lovely people here and I have been really overwhelmed by the positive response.

"I was very concerned about putting it out there, because there are a lot of people who are very negative towards this kind of event, but no one has said anything negative.

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"It has really shocked me in the best way possible and I have been really inspired and emboldened."

Organisers formed the idea following a special performance by composer William Drew-Batty, who entertained neighbours from his Bungay balcony with daily symphonies through the first national lockdown.

Mx Bedwell said: "Last year we had a local musician playing music and he'd do themes for special events.

"I approached him about doing one for Pride and he played some traditional songs which are usually performed at Pride events.

"I thought this year we should do something bigger, but still small enough to be safe with coronavirus, and hopefully we can do something bigger again next year."

Bungay Castle. Photo: Nick Butcher.

Bungay's first Pride Picnic will take place at Castle Meadow on Saturday, July 24. - Credit: Nick Butcher

For the organiser, concerns about a potential delay to lockdown restrictions easing on June 21 were always a consideration. 

They said: "We had it in our minds, and we could keep it to a maximum of 30 people, but hopefully that doesn't happen and we can welcome as many people as can make it."

Visitors to the event, which is supported by Sustainable Bungay, are asked to bring their own picnics, while a prize is also on offer for the most flamboyant outfit.