Homeward bound: Sir Ian McKellen returns to Bolton for town’s first Pride event

Actor Sir Ian McKellen is to be the guest of honour at the first ever Bolton Pride event in October.

Burnley-born but Bolton-raised Sir Ian, famed for his roles in the Lord of the Rings films, will attend Bolton Pride’s awards dinner on October 16 having previous posted a teasing YouTube clip in which he declared his support for the event.

Hosted by Sky Movies’ red carpet presenter, Craig Stevens, the night will celebrate various people and organisations supporting the LGBT community in Bolton.

Sir Ian said: “I’m looking forward to coming back to Bolton for Pride. See you then. I’m supporting Bolton’s first Pride. Love Bolton, Hate homophobia.”

An ex-pupil of Bolton School, where he first began performing, the twice Oscar-nominated actor is best known for his critically acclaimed work in theatre, and coveted film roles such as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and Magneto in the X-Men franchise.

A dedicated activist for many LGBT charities including Stonewall, an organisation he co-founded, Sir Ian has tirelessly campaigned for LGBT rights and against homophobia, having publicly come out as gay during a BBC Radio 4 programme in 1988.

Bolton Pride co-founder James Edgington said he was delighted that the star had agreed to be guest of honour and present prizes at the dinner.

He said: “Having the support of an individual as prestigious as Sir Ian McKellen is a true privilege for all involved with Bolton Pride and his involvement, as an icon within the LGBT community who has passionate links with Bolton itself, brilliantly represents what we are trying to achieve.”

His fellow co-founder Mark J Geary added: “For us, Bolton Pride is more than just an annual event, it’s a vision of Bolton’s diverse communities, talents, and businesses joining together to create a better way of life for the coming generations of LGBT people; generations that will not have to live with homophobia or tolerate hate crime on any level.”

In addition to the awards dinner, Bolton Pride will be hosting family-friendly events and entertainment throughout the town on Sunday 18 October, including The Bolton Pride family Day at Bolton’s Holiday Inn and a showing of sing-a-long Frozen at the Bolton Libraries.

Cllr Carole Swarbrick, Mayor of Bolton: “Events like Bolton Pride are really important for the diversity of the town. We want people from all walks of life to feel safe and welcomed within Bolton and for Bolton to be having its first Pride event to raise awareness of Hate Crime in the town is such a positive step forward for our community.”

The event is to be officially launched later today at a special coffee morning at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton.

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Image courtesy of ITV via YouTube, with thanks.

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