Candlelit Vigil set to be poignant end to Manchester Pride 2011

By Emma Arnold & Sarah Clayton

To mark the end of Manchester Pride, Sackville gardens will turn into a sea of flickering candles this evening as they remember those lost to HIV.

Acting as a closing ceremony of the festival, the Vigil is described as the spiritual heart of the Manchester Pride festival with a truly magical and moving atmosphere.

Organisers, George House Trust, aim to bring people together to fight the epidemic worldwide. However, the Vigil also encourages the audience that having HIV makes you no less of a person.

Adam McGuire, 38, said: “I’ll definitely be going to the Vigil tonight. It makes you remember what Pride’s all about.”

Candle-holders at previous Vigils have chanted: “Positive. Good as you. Negative. Good as you” to show how they believe everyone is equal.

According to George House Trust, 60 percent of HIV positive gay men were discriminated against by gay men last year.

After the hustle and bustle of the festival, the Candlelit Vigil allows for a quiet reflection on the meaning of Manchester Pride.

Steve Hutchinson, 24, said: “To be honest I didn’t really know the candle lighting was on tonight. But now I know I might pop down to see. I bet it looks quite pretty all lit up.”

The thousands of flames held up to the sky is sure to be a magical sight, and one which means something to so many people; remembering the dead or celebrating the living.

As this is a popular part of Pride, organisers advise you to arrive earlier than the start time of 9pm as there are no wrist bands needed.


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