Sir Nigel Gresley Square – if one person asked where’s that? then a hundred did! The “new” square, the absolutely perfect home for Pride was offered to us by the council who felt our rightful place was in the town centre – we snatched their hands off! However, a return to being a “free” event meant budgets plunged again and we had another tough year of fundraising and even more hard work by the committee.
The setup and build far easier, a free event and the facilities good for the travelling visitors have seen crowd numbers surge again. We expect the tenth pride to top the figure for 2009 of 10k. So we’ve come full circle.
2014 we brought you the Tribute Pride, lots of fabulous tribute performers including Nicola Marie who performed as Madonna, Shania Twain, Lady Gaga and Amy Winehouse before bringing the house down in a memorable finale of dance hits. Who remembers the NYPD Police car? And our great friend Hayley as Jane McDonald for a repeat performance.
On to 2015 and the fabulous teaming up with the Yorkshire Main Commemorative Trust and LGSM to recreate the fabulous movie “Pride.” Pipes and Drum band ahead of a huge Walk of Unity and a very moving tribute to our Doncaster mining heritage alongside those that had supported the gay rights movement 30 years ago. One of my own personal highs of the 10 years I’ve been involved.
The stage saw the likes of Sonique, Nicola Marie and our great friends Paula Sully (Paloma Faith) and not to mention Doncaster’s own Anastasia Walker (Bang Bang Romeo) who have supported Pride through their long and now hugely successful growth into one of the finest up and coming bands in the UK. We also saw another great Pride supporter Leanne Harper (Beyonce) perform her Disney Frozen medley complete with a snow machine!
2016 saw the return of Jo O'Meara along with another returning favorite act Groom Lake Fugitives who brought the house down and the roof off the Square - if it had one - with their headline set. Oh and guess what...? it rained on our Parade!
Fast forward another 12 months to 2017... the year of Sean Miley-Moore and the first of the catwalk stages... built just for him so he could "sissy that walk". Our great friends Bang Bang Romeo returned again and this was the year of the first second stage in Waterdale. We were joined by the fabulous Rob Keetch (Dr Bev Ballcrusher) and a whole host of drag performers.
2018 was the year of the on stage proposal...we welcomed back after 10 years away local performer V-Star and brought you the tributes - Michael Jackson (remember him?) and the fabulous Freddie Mercury, Adele, Jess Glynn, Alison Moyet, Paloma Faith and many more... We also brought you Bonnie and the Bonettes (thanks Cameron) We were joined on stage by weatherman Owain the weatherman who brought the sunshine with him. We had the amazing Bang Bang Romeo headline the stage, knowing they had big news coming and feeling we may not get them again... 2019 they only went and replaced us with a European tour supporting Pink! so we were enormously proud our local hero's gave us their final performance.
Our final year in Gresley Square was 2019... and we begain with the HUGE news of the move to the park. It was a poingnant day for the committee, the end of another chapter and the start of another new one.
We had a great second stage again brought to you by Saints Among Us. We had Tina Turner and of course the fabulous Shirley Bassey. Who remembers the Gay-CB (JCB) digger in the parade? and of course not a dry eye in the house when Jen brought her new grandson on stage... a new era was about to begin!
We wanted to go out with a bang so we brought you the unbelievable talents of Soraya Vivien and a whole load of fireworks... Thank you Sir Nigel Gresley for the wonderful years in your square... we had a blast!
No story of Pride is complete without a mention of Miss Penny (Matt Spencer) who came to us back in 2009 and has stood by us year after year and performed hours for the audiences in Doncaster who have adopted Penny as one of their own. Matt is a superb performer and very lovely man who as Penny has broken into the world of drag up and down the UK performing regularly in Brighton, London and Birmingham. Penny is quite literally one of the top drag acts in the country, but will always be our number 1.
So what does year 14 have in store...? Well lots of planning, lots of new features and lots of grass... please, please can we have a dry day!